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Social Work Ethical Dilemma Essay - Cyber Essays
One afternoon during the patientâs hospital stay, the physician contacted the social worker and explained that the patient was distraught after having just learned that he was diagnosed with bone cancer. According to the social worker, the physician asked the social worker to visit the patient and offer emotional support. The social worker visited the patient in his room and spent about an hour helping his friend process the distressing medical news.
Reflective Practice in Social Work â The Ethical Dimension
By Frederic G. Reamer, PhD
Ethical dilemmas social work essays - …
When discussing ethics in occupational health, the impact of ethical principles on human relationships and the questions of needs to know at the workplace, it is necessary to clarify the main underlying principles. These can be found in international human rights documents and in recommendations and guidelines stemming from decisions adopted by international organizations. They are also reflected in professional codes of ethics and conduct.
The ethical issues and conflicts in the occupational health sphere may be approached using the two classical ethical paradigmsconsequentialist ethics or deontological ethics. Consequentialist ethics focuses on what is good or bad, harmful or useful in its consequences. As an example, the social ambition expressed as the principle of maximizing benefits for the greatest number in a community is a reflection of consequentialist ethics. The distinctive feature of deontological ethics is to regard certain actions or human behaviour as obligatory, such as for example the principle of always telling the truththe principle of veracityregardless of its consequences. The deontologist holds moral principles to be absolute, and that they impose an absolute duty on us to obey them. Both these paradigms of basic moral philosophy, separately or in combination, may be used in ethical assessments of activities or behaviours of humans.
Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work - Term Paper
In the last several decades, considerable effort has been devoted to defining and addressing the ethical issues that arise in the context of biomedical experimentation. Central ethical concerns that have been identified in such research include the relationship of risks to benefits and the ability of research subjects to give informed and voluntary prior consent. Assurance of adequate attention to these issues has normally been achieved by review of research protocols by an independent body, such as an Institutional Review Board (IRB). For example, in the United States, institutions engaging in biomedical research and receiving Public Health Service research funds are subject to strict federal governmental guidelines for such research, including review of protocols by an IRB, which considers the risks and benefits involved and the obtaining of informed consent of research subjects. To a large degree, this is a model which has come to be applied to scientific research on human subjects in democratic societies around the world (Brieger et al. 1978).
Although the shortcomings of such an approach have been debatedfor example, in a recent Human Research Report, Maloney (1994) says some institutional review boards are not doing well on informed consentit has many supporters when it is applied to formal research protocols involving human subjects. The deficiencies of the approach appear, however, in situations where formal protocols are lacking or where studies bear a superficial resemblance to human experimentation but do not clearly fall within the confines of academic research at all. The workplace provides one clear example of such a situation. Certainly, there have been formal research protocols involving workers that satisfy the requirements of risk-benefit review and informed consent. However, where the boundaries of formal research blur into less formal observances concerning workers health and into the day-to-day conduct of business, ethical concerns over risk-benefit analysis and the assurance of informed consent may be easily put aside.
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Read this essay on Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work
With technological advances, the ability grows to more precisely measure biological parameters. For example, biomarkers is one area that opens up a Pandoras box of ethical issues and resulting tensions that have yet to be addressed in codes. Several such issues have been identified by Ashford (1986) and by Grandjean (1991). Since existing codes were developed prior to the availability on a commercial scale of this technology, codes would serve the occupational health community better if they were updated to provide some guidance on related concerns. To achieve this, explication of such thorny questions as the workers right to work in the face of high-risk susceptibility identified through biomarker assays, requires extensive discussion in workshops and conferences specially convened for the purpose. Case study materials would assist in this effort. So profound are the ramifications of biomarker studies that their implications, as well as those related to other potential high technology breakthroughs, could be best addressed through the professions continual review of the code.
Ethical dilemmas in social work essays for graduate
Concern about the extension of principlism applied in the physician-patient setting to that of the community-research situation has been noted above (see Recent history of codes in selected professions). Vineis and Soskolne (1993) have found that the established principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and distributive justice are not easily applicable at the societal level. For example, available information about the safety of exposures often is too scanty to allow decisional autonomy; beneficence is considered from the societal viewpoint rather than from that of the individual; and equity is frequently violated. Ethics require careful consideration when defining what is acceptable to society; the simple mathematical formulations used for risk-benefit evaluations cannot be applied directly to individuals. Further development and integration of these ideas are necessary.
Ethical Decision Making | Social Work Internships
In conclusion, codes have a fundamental role to play in the professions. They also could play an important role in safeguarding the common good if they took broader social issues into account. They need to be developed with grass-roots and stakeholder input as part of a broad-based programme of ethics supported by each profession. Codesincluding the professions core values, the commentary associated with a code and case study materialsmust be subjected to a process of periodic review and revision. Now, more than ever, codes are needed not only for professional accountability and self-regulation purposes, but also to help practitioners with the moral and ethical challenges faced by constantly advancing technologies that have implications, amongst others, for the rights and duties of all affected individuals and interest groups. A substantial and challenging task lies ahead.
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