Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Essay

Pages: 3 (1098 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work

Social work can be both a fulfilling and frustrating profession. Working with human beings in a helping profession means that the social worker gains the satisfaction of successfully helping those in need. On the other hand, there is also frustration and heartache when ethical dilemmas arise. In a profession such as social work, these are inevitable, as human beings are at the center of the profession. Both professional relationships and the relationships of the social worker with clients are at issue in terms of ethical dilemmas. When faced with such a dilemma, the social worker does have recourse to certain considerations in order to make the best possible among the potentially undesirable solutions. The social work profession for example functions under a certain code of ethics, which promotes core values. By referring to these, ethical dilemmas that concern the social worker's relationship with his or her clients as well as associates can be mitigated and resolved.

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According to the NASW (2009) Website, the mission of social work is to promote a number of core values and purposes. The core values include service, social justice, dignity of the client, human relationships, integrity, and competence. These values function concomitantly in the practice of social work. The six purposes of the Code of Ethics include 1) identifying the core values, 2) summarizing ethical principles, 3) identifying the issues and values to be considered when ethical dilemmas arise, 4) providing ethical standards for the social work profession as it functions in public, 5) providing a platform to familiarize new social workers with the core principles and values of the profession, and 6) articulating standards as a guideline for the practice of social work.

Essay on Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Social Work Assignment

Franklin Harris & Allen-Maeres (2006, p. 922) identify an ethical dilemma as a situation of which all outcomes are potentially or partially undesirable in terms of one or more of the interested parties. The task of the social worker is then to use the Code of Ethics, legislation, and the core values of the profession to help in making the soundest possible decision. In a case where the concern for privacy and confidentiality can potentially lead to harm or even death, for example, this concern takes a subordinate position to the health and safety of all concerned. Hepworth et al. (2009:75) mention the example of "Alice," who confidentially disclosed her HIV status to a social worker. The social worker is now faced with her concern for confidentiality as opposed to the health and safety of her husband and others such as medical practitioners who may be required to provide services to Alice. Hepworth et al. further mention that the social worker should also make use of supervisory help such as professionals from the legal and other professions to identify the applicable regulations in terms of HIV disclosure. This, together with the core values and principles promoted by the Code of Ethics, the social worker can then make the optimal decision.

At the core of the profession, social workers are required to maintain a commitment to their clients and their well-being. This should be kept in mind when facing issues such as the termination of service. When a social worker is removed from a case by forces beyond his or her control, the well-being of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work.  (2009, September 17).  Retrieved July 14, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work."  17 September 2009.  Web.  14 July 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work."  September 17, 2009.  Accessed July 14, 2020.