The role of social worker in the contemporary world is becoming more and more significant. Actually it is socio-organizational activity in order to render assistance or mutual aid to people or groups of people who appeared in difficult situation, their psychosocial rehabilitation and integration. Generally social work is a complicated social phenomenon and independent sphere of theoretical and practical knowledge, profession and discipline.
What is important to note that social works needs high organizational and ethic qualities. That means that value basis and strong interpersonal skills are above everything. There have been written a number of articles and books telling about professional ethics and value basis of the social workers. There have been created lots of institutions providing education in this sphere. Numerous associations were created in the whole world and co-operating with each other. British Association of Social workers provided key principles which could be undertaken as the value base: “Key Principles
Human Dignity and Worth
• Respect for human dignity and for individual and cultural diversity
• Value for every human being, their beliefs, goals, preferences and needs
• Respect for human rights and self-determination
• Partnership and empowerment with users of services and with carers
• Ensuring protection for vulnerable people
• Promoting fair access to resources
• Equal treatment without prejudice or discrimination
• Reducing disadvantage and exclusion
• Challenging the abuse of power
• Helping with personal and social needs
• Enabling people to develop their potential
• Contributing to creating a fairer society
• Honesty, reliability and confidentiality
• Maintaining and expanding competence to provide a quality service” (BASW, 2009)
It goes without saying that social work is strongly connected with each of them: encouraging people being honest and reliable the same time respecting the human rights and the person himself. It is not actually an easy task to find all this qualities in one person. But I think that with a certain persistence and willingness every person who wants to be a social worker could develop all the necessary qualities.
In my personal opinion the most important values are confidentiality, respect and empowerment. Social work seems to be impossible without these three components in its ethics and I am persuaded that they are the basement. Such an ethical basement is an essential part of social work as many of them are formed on enthusiasm of being useful to the society and to help people who appeared in the difficult situation. The situations could be pretty different that is why confidentiality is very important. The majority of people do not want to become the main hero of gossips. They want to keep their secrets and complicated situations. The same reasons are for respect. Respecting other person’s civil rights and rights for self determination is probably the best thing we can do being eager to help. In complicated situations such thing as respect and empowerment is also very important. In some situations people could not ask for help their dear people and relatives, but the support is very important when it comes to overcoming through the difficulties. That is why empowerment is also very important for the people in the complicated situations.
I think that my family and friends I am communicating since I was a child produced a great impact on my system of personal values. My parents taught me from the early childhood that every person should respect the others’ civil rights and self determination actually cultural and individual diversity should also be respected. During my childhood I have read many books about strong and brave people, whose moral qualities produced great impact on me and when I child thought that when I grew I would be like they were in my imagination. It was very important part of my life. Book as well as my parents taught me to respect the other’s person opinion, they taught me that strong, brave and clever people should empower those who need their help. My friends were also those people who gave some rules connected with my personal value basis. We were growing up together and brining up with every passing year strong empowerment skills and confidentiality. There are a lot of things that teenagers prefer to discuss with their friends rather then with the parents. It does not mean that parents are worse than friends. It is just meaning that in some situation it is easier to turn for help to someone other but not relatives. I think that many situations and incidents that happened in my childhood are now not worth even to be mention and called problems or difficult situations, but these small difficulties produced a serious impact on me, my future life.
I have been thinking a lot about my favorite book heroes and even imagined myself in the difficult situations they appeared during the story. I feel sympathy for those who appeared in the difficult situations and felt some kind of particular affection for those who helped weak and those who needed support. I think that many of these literary characters had such traits that I wanted to be like them in future. The formation of ideal hero, the one you would be alike in future, in the childhood then develops moral traits and also produce a serious impact on the system of moral values of the child and then an adult. I think it was rather interesting and exciting experience – my first book investigations and search for ideal hero. These memories always make me happy. I think that every person had such a hero when a child. The one whose traits of character, believes and moral qualities correspond to the image he or she would like to become in future. In today’s world the role of books is mainly replaced by Internet, Television and Games. Contemporary children have bright and colorful almost living heroes they would like to resemble when they grow up. I would like to remember my first experience of reading myself it was “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe. For quite a long period of time he remained the person I would be alike in future. Persistence, strong belief and bravery were the traits of character that stroke me the most in the book.
My personal values and the values of social working are closely connected I do respect all ethical values of social working. But still I think that there is a lot to do. When I started the process of studying in the fields of social working I did not actually thought that it would not so easy. I was moved by the willing to help people, who really needed help. From the very beginning I have learned many interesting fact about professional values of the social worker. In some parts I had another understanding and feeling about them. But my tutors found the rights words for me to change my opinion. It usually happens with the people who learned something new that oppositely differ from the information they knew before. It take some time to accommodate to the new information and try to percept and understand it in the right way actually. I do not insist that I am extraordinary, but just want to describe the feelings I had when I discovered so many new things and perception of some was different from my pervious understanding of certain things.
I am persuaded that when it comes to education and ethical development every person has lots of aspects to deepen knowledge and enlarge the scope. I am not the exception too. I think that even in the field of my key points of professional values could be developed. I understand that some things are learned only from the personal experience and mine is not so big to make certain conclusions. I think that patience and diligence would help me to learn more and open new horizons. I have very good stimulus for that.
My personal values have made a good advantage on the very beginning and still they are naturally corresponding to the ethics of social worker, I think that my professional career would help me to develop good qualities and avoid mistakes. I think that being a social worker means to bring people help and consolation in difficult situation and I am proud of the profession I got. I think that there are a lot ways to develop personal values, but social work is among those, which help development interpersonal and communicative skills and bring certain support to people from different social layers.
1. BASW official web page. 2009. The BASW Code of Ethics for Social Work. 16.11.2009. <http://www.basw.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=64>
2. Eileen Gambrill, Robert Pruger. Controversial Issues in Social Work Ethics, Values, and Obligations. Alyn & Bacon: 1996
3. Carolyne Wells, Kathleen Marsch Social Work Ethics Day to Day: Guidelines for Professional Practice (Paperback). Wavelend Press: 1990
4. Frederick G. Reamer. Social Work Values and Ethics (Foundations of Social Work Knowledge Series). Columbia University Press: 2006
5. Frederick G. Reamer. Ethical Standards in Social Work: A Critical Review of the Nasw Code of Ethics. NASW Press: 1998