Date of publication: 2017-09-02 15:16
Implementing Reflective Ethics Practice
Certainly the hospital social worker who called me with panic in his voice would have benefited from reflective ethics practice and highly sensitive ethics radar. Had he reflected on the ethical dimensions of the boundary challenges that emerged when he interacted with his friend and hospital patient, it is likely that this well-meaning practitioner would have avoided his unpleasant encounter with the human resources department. The social worker’s decision to visit his friend was not the error that was a humane and compassionate gesture. The error, rather, was not reflecting on his role in that moment and managing the boundaries carefully, including discussing them with his friend and his supervisor.
However, social work is a practical business about engaging and supporting real people. Reflection is the process of learning that supports the integration of these different forms of knowledge and understanding into the direct work that is done with service users. In the rest of this section, you will explore what reflection means and how you can begin to develop this approach to your studies.
I got a card and leaflet from the agency with my name and number printed on it so that the person I visited could always have a record of where I had come from, or show it to other visitors.
Question: Critically examine the impact that living with domestic violence can have upon children. What are the implications for social work practice?
If you already have experience of writing in higher education, reflective writing may feel odd at first. One social work student who was already a graduate commented that while her experience was that academic writing ‘is looking at writing in the third person’, reflective writing is about something different:
I also see great value in drawing or mapping situations that are complex and in need of a good sorting out. In one of my previous positions, we used a visual mapping technique in looking at one particular child whose needs were complex. The map was huge. It covered a wall. Everyone really got into drawing and describing different ideas over the course of about a week. This type of free association whet many an appetite and allowed us to think creatively and outside of the boxes that we can often get stuck in when working in child protection.
Social workers have a dual responsibility to act within the state’s welfare framework and also to recognise the pervasive influence of oppression and discrimination at an individual and a structural level in most of the situations in which they work. We will prepare you for this professional responsibility.
Social work is a regulated profession. From 6 August 7567, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) took on the regulation of social workers and the regulation of the performance of social work courses. This means that social work students will need to adhere to the standards set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Guidance on conduct and ethics for students (HCPC 7559), and work towards meeting the HCPC Standards of Proficiency - Social workers in England (HCPC 7567). These are the standards social work students are expected to demonstrate at the end of their last placement/ qualifying level.
It's also important that you explain what you've learned from your work experience, and how this has contributed to your understanding of social work roles and tasks. You should also reflect on what you've learned about yourself and the service user group(s) that you have worked with. Please make sure your personal statement is well written and demonstrates your academic ability.