213214 Social Workers, Professional Standards and Patient Care

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:30 PM

Melvin Wilson, MBA, LCSWC , Manager of the Office of Workforce Development and Training, National Association of Social Workers, Washington, DC
Social workers practice with the guidance of a detailed and rigorous Code of Ethics that, for the most part, require NASW members and the non-member workforce to adhere to a high degree of professional workplace integrity. This panel will discuss social workers, who are guided by professional standards/ethics when working with patients, and their role in the health field. The dynamic between social workers and health professionals, who are usually the policy makers in heath care settings, will also be discussed. The collaboration between social workers and health professionals in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, community health clinics, criminal and juvenile justice facilities, and in various school settings will be assessed, as will cases where issues of behavior control (e.g. a prison setting) may demand social workers strongly advocate for medical and mental health services in conflict with correctional staff.

The situation faced by social workers in the health field will be analyzed, from social workers having to follow workplace policies and procedures that may be in conflict with social work practice standards and ethics to how “client centered” social work practice standards and code of ethics may place social workers in a position where they must advocate for services to meet the client's needs that may conflict with an agency's policy that deny such supportive services to the client.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss possible mechanisms to be implemented to resolve professional integrity conflicts for social workers as they arise. 2. Explain the situation social workers face in the health field and evaluate how professional standards/ethics play a crucial role in effective client care.

Keywords: Social Work, Professionalism

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have the requisite education, training, professional experience in a broad range is areas, including healthcare. In addition, I have day-to-day involvement in workforce issues as they relate to social workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.