Values & Ethics
Within this essay I will look at my own personal and professional development in relation to the case study of Mrs Begum, a British South Asian women aged 79 who has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Although I recognise that there are many more values that could be explored I have chosen the following values to discuss; respect, self-determination and empowerment. I will also explore anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory values in terms of age, disability and race as they are all included within the case study. I will analyse my learning in regards to personal and professional values and the reading undertaken to support my learning. Throughout this essay I will identify areas of development personally and professionally in order to use values successfully within social work practice. To date I have learnt about social work values through various sources, how they apply and how they can be implemented. I will outline some of these sources and their value guidelines which will highlight the values that I have chosen to discuss in relation to Mrs Begum's case study. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has a Code of Ethics which every social worker who becomes a BASW member is required to be committed to. This Code of Ethics comprises of five basic principles; social justice, human dignity and worth, integrity, service to humanity and competence. These principles all include key social work values such as ‘respect the diversity of the societies in which we practice’, ‘respect, promote and support people’s dignity and right to make their own choice and decisions’, ‘uphold and promote human dignity and well-being’ BASW (2012) [online]. The Code of Ethics is there to ensure that service users receive a quality service. It does this by providing social workers with a guideline and checklist to enable them to provide the best service possible. As Parrott (2011, p.17) states ‘The purpose of social work values is to provide a common set of principles, which social workers can use and develop as a means of working in an ethical way with the service user’. Parrott continues to go on and say ‘The importance of having a value base for social work is that it is intended to guide the action of social workers and protect the interests of the service user’. The National Occupation Standards for Social Work (NOS) also set out key values that social workers must adhere to. These are; have respect for the users and their carers and the expertise and knowledge they may have about their own situation, empower users and carers in decisions affecting them, be honest about the power invested in them and their role and the resources available to them, respect confidentiality and inform them when information needs to be shared with others, be able to challenge discriminatory practices affecting users and carers and put them first. The TOPSS (2002) [online]. The Health and Care Professions Council also provide a clear guideline on how to apply the practice. Some of the values I will be discussing in relation to Mrs Begums case study such as self- determination and respect were spoken about by Biestek (1961) over 50 years ago but they remain relevant today. Biestek writes about seven traditional values and they have been cited by Thompson (2009) and Dominelli (2009). These values are Individualisation, Purposeful expression of feelings, Acceptance, Non-judgemental attitude, Client self-determination, Confidentiality and Respect for persons. Firstly I will look at Mrs Begum’s case study in terms of the value respect. A value that is included within NOS, BASW and Biestek’s set of values. NOS sets out that as a social worker I will need to respect the service user regardless of their age, ethnicity, culture, level of understanding and need, also the knowledge the service user may have about their own situation TOPSS (2002) [online]. Therefore I would show Mrs Begum respect by treating her in a...
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