SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1          McAuliffe, D., & Sudbery, J. (2005). Who do I tell? Support and consultation in cases of ethical conflict. Journal of Social Work, 5(1),21-43. doi: 10.1177/1468017305051362 
Social workers cannot avoid ethical dilemmas. This qualitative research investigated the question ‘who do I tell?’, exploring who the people are that social workers approach for advice when a course of action is ethically uncertain. Thirty Australian social workers who had access to supervision discussed how they managed a serious ethical dilemma, … however, less than half discussed the incident in organizational supervision, and supervision was more likely to be used if external to the organization. In many cases, ethical dilemmas were discussed with colleagues, and to a lesser extent with friends or family. Respondents referred to ethical, practical, organizational, and relationship reasons for not using potential sources of support. Organizational supervision appeared the least satisfactory in doing so in critical situations. If relationships are not prioritized, no amount of monitoring of service outputs will create effective practice.
Questions to consider:
  1. Why are ethical dilemmas inherent in social work practice? How does a social worker’s value system interface with organizational values and structures?
  2. How does “moral engagement” translate for a social worker facing an ethical dilemma? Whose interests should be addressed first when there are two conflicting moral values; the client, the agency, or the social worker?
  3. When a social worker is involved in an ethical dilemma, who “should” he consult with before making a decision? Should the supervisor be the first contact and does the context or availability of resources matter in a given situation?
Article 2          Beddoe, L. (2013). Health social work: Professional identity and knowledge. Qualitative Social Work, 12(1), 24-40.
Social workers in health care often argue that they must be professionally assertive in order to keep their values afloat in a stormy sea of change. The practice of health social work has traditionally been tied to a professional identity derived from a claim to expertise in the ‘psychosocial’ aspects of health and illness. This article briefly reviews relevant literature on health social work in institutional settings, with specific reference to the links between knowledge, credentials and a secure professional identity. Data from a small study is used to examine the problematic nature of professional identity and links between continuing professional education and status in health social work in New Zealand. Findings reveal practitioner concern that the knowledge claim of social work is weak and this impacts on their professional identity and status in multidisciplinary institutional settings.
Questions to consider:
  1. When was the social worker and medical professional relationship established? Was there a mutual professional respect for the roles each group served in their delivery of services to individuals, families, or communities? Why or why not?
  2. What models or approaches has social work contributed to health care?
  3. How do knowledge and credentials determine professional status? Has social work always been viewed as a profession? And, how did social work gain its professional capital?
  4. In current context, how are social workers and health care professionals negotiating space in medical settings? What are the specific challenges of each profession?