Although many social workers have a bachelor`s or master`s degree in social work, much of their knowledge comes from practice. In keeping with the values of social work in the NASW Code of Ethics, each social worker must practice within their area of expertise. Social workers need to expand their knowledge for the benefit of people. Since everyone has their own social and cultural values, professionals in this industry need to pay attention to them. Social workers must treat each person with dignity and respect to help them reach their full potential. For example, a social worker might encourage a client to take on their personal challenges in the hope that they will become more socially responsible. Social workers must be aware of their role vis-à-vis the people they serve and society as a whole and seek solutions that are fair to all parties. Below is an overview of the six core values underpinning the Code of Ethics and related general ethical principles that social workers should use as a guide for their work. It is paraphrased from the NASW Code of Ethics. This Code and the current full Code of Ethics are available on the NASW website.
Social work ethics and core values are not limited to following rules, regulations and protocols. In a profession where clients are often vulnerable, it is necessary for social workers to take a passionate interest in empowering those who are defenceless, oppressed or impoverished. Ethical decision-making requires skill and practice and is a never-ending process (Reamer, 2006). The more you prepare, know and follow the code of ethics, the more skills you will acquire as a professional social worker (Cournoyer, 2011). There will always be ethical dilemmas throughout your career, regardless of your work environment. It is important to treat each dilemma as your own using the suggested tips. Consulting with a supervisor before or after an ethical dilemma is a good suggestion. Supervisors are there to help and support you in difficult times. Social work is an enjoyable profession that allows you to say at the end of each day, “I changed someone`s life. While it`s hard work, more than 600,000 people have chosen to dedicate their lives and careers to the field, and the rapid growth rate of 12% between 2020 and 2030 means many more will.1 As a social worker, you`ll be challenged daily by helping people manage a variety of positive and negative stressors.
For example, helping parents with the emotional challenges of adopting a child, helping a professional navigate a new career, or working with someone trying to end an abusive relationship, overcome an addiction, or consider divorce. For each client, the tasks you perform as part of your work with them fall into most, if not all, of the five categories – assessment, treatment, sourcing, improvement monitoring, and advocacy – although their experience in these tasks and yours is entirely individualized. Mary Richmond, an important figure in the establishment of social work as a profession. Congress, E. P. (2000). What social workers should know about ethics: Understanding and resolving ethical dilemmas. Advances in Social Work, 1(1), 1-25. Another important role in becoming a social worker is the legal obligations or duties for which you are responsible. These duties are very serious and all social workers must respect them.
These duties or obligations consist of: Passing the Social Work Association (ASWB) exam is an important step in the licensing process. To help you prepare for the big day, here is a list of practice tests and study guides in social work. The ethical principles are based on the six core values of social work. It is important that all social workers recognize and apply these six values to their practice. They should guide you through any ethical decisions or dilemmas you encounter. Social workers should also be aware of these values when working with clients, talking to colleagues, writing grant applications, or playing any other role a social worker plays, even if there is no ethical dilemma. During your training, these six values will become much more important than you could have imagined. You will learn real definitions of these terms and how to apply them to your practice. The mission of social work is “to improve human well-being and contribute to meeting the basic human needs of all, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty” (Cournoyer, 2011, p. 160). With this mission, social workers should have a clear indication of what is expected when they enter the field and practice as social workers. The six core values of social work flow from the mission statement.
These values are discussed in more detail in this chapter, but remember that the preamble section is rooted in these values. A social worker has more than a duty to help clients through counselling, psychotherapy and social services such as health care. In all their different roles – educators, managers, evaluators, negotiators, facilitators, lawyers – social workers, as health care workers, must comply with legal responsibilities regarding personal information, treatment, and customer behavior issues. The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics provides guidance on how to fulfill these legal responsibilities and maintain professional conduct. The NASW Code of Ethics is a guide to the day-to-day conduct of a social worker. The NASW Assembly of Delegates published the first version in 1960. It has been revised several times, but much remains as originally drafted. To broaden your knowledge of social work, we`ve put together a few resources that may be helpful. This list includes state regulatory bodies as well as social work organizations and associations. We have also included career guides, articles, and other professional information for students enrolled in a social work degree program. There are many benefits to joining a social work organization or regulatory committee.
Whether it`s professional networking, internship opportunities, or education outside the classroom, membership can help you kick-start your career. Gain the necessary qualifications to succeed as an effective clinical social worker. To learn more about Widener University`s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program, call 844-386-7321 or fill out the application form and a program manager will contact you immediately. Therefore, as a social worker in the helping profession, you are responsible for many legal and important decisions. Often, these decisions involve ethical decisions in the best interest of customers` lives. These decisions can be extremely difficult and emotionally charged, and they are not always the choices you like to make. Social justice is an important value for all social workers as we seek to promote equality for all. This is often done by advocating for fair laws or policies on behalf of clients (Cournoyer, 2011).
In promoting social justice, social workers focus particularly on vulnerable and oppressed individuals or groups of people (Reamer, 2006). Today, the term value is used in many ways with many meanings. In social work, the six core values provide us with an interconnected framework in three important ways. First, the six core values have a direct relationship with customers, colleagues and members of society at large. Second, these six values flow from the general mission statement of social work and, finally, these six values relate to the resolution of ethical dilemmas and the interventions that social workers use in their work (Reamer, 2006). Remember that the Code of Ethics and Values was born out of the idea that all people are equal and deserve the same rights. As a social worker, you are responsible for pursuing and promoting social justice. In addition, you should always apply ethical standards and legal obligations to your work. The Code includes thematic sections that outline a social worker`s responsibilities to clients, co-workers, employers and the profession in general. Below is a summary of some of the key points in some sections.
A link to all updated changes is provided: www.socialworkers.org/nasw/ethics/ethicshistory.asp The first version of the NASW Code of Ethics, published in 1960, states that social workers are “dedicated to the service of the welfare of mankind” and “should promote the welfare of all without discrimination.” These basic principles apply today, but the Code has since evolved from a one-page document to a solid guide to professional conduct, outlining the core values, ethical principles and ethical standards to guide social workers and the social work profession.