Values Essay: Expressing the Ability to Apply Social Concepts and Values and Understanding the Social Work Values and Ethics

Values Essay: Expressing the Ability to Apply Social Concepts and Values and Understanding the Social Work Values and Ethics

Social work is a profession where the objective is to improve the lives of individuals. Values serve as a guide for our lifestyle and interacting with individuals. The NASW Code of Ethics is a guideline for social workers. Within the NASW Code of Ethics, there are six values. The values are in place for the social worker and their work with the client. Each value benefits the individuals regardless of color, sex, religious belief or sexual orientation. As social workers, we should practice our professional values. If we, as social workers, fail to believe in the values the client will suffer. As social workers, we must follow and obey the Code of Ethics.

This essay serves two purposes. The first purpose of this essay is to express the ability to apply social concepts and values to my own life experiences. The second purpose of this essay is to show that I have a clear understanding of the social work values and ethics.

Value: Service
Ethical Principle: Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.

The first social work value is service. The social worker should be willing to address social problems. In my own life experiences, I have been willing to provide services for individuals in need and within my community. I have provided services at the Excel Common in Okolona, MS. I tutored kindergartners and first graders due to a shortage of volunteers. Excel’s goal is to improve academic grades and state test scores. Excel is working with the local school system to reach the goal. In order to address this social problem in my community, I am willing to help and give my time when needed. As social workers, we must be willing to render our services.

I have provided services at the Okolona Nursing Home and visited on Saturdays. The individuals I visited with are without living family members. We talked and watched television. Often, senior citizens are left out of community decisions. Many senior citizens are not getting the services they need. I enjoyed visiting them and giving my time to serve them. As a social worker, I would address issues regarding problems senior citizens face. Our elders deserve the best treatment in nursing homes. As social workers, we must have knowledge and skills to provide the best services for seniors and other clients.

Value: Social Justice
Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.

The next value included in the Code of Ethics is social justice. My father is an African American senior citizen. He often feels vulnerable and sometimes he feels oppressed. It upsets him to feel like resources are not available for/to him. A friend of my father’s is a retired truck driver. He is a white man. My father’s friend tells him about information and resources he has received. The benefits and the resources that my father receives are very different from his friend. My father wants the same benefits as him and I want him to receive the same benefits and resources. A social worker must provide equal opportunity for all clients. The client’s status in the community should not be important. The social worker must deal with social injustice for clients. As social workers, we must work to provide all clients with the same services and resources. The client is always first. We cannot judge a person based on their past, color, religion and sexual orientation.

Value: Dignity and worth of the person
Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

Even though I have addressed issues for my father, he always makes his own decisions. I would not be a help to my father if I were to make his decisions. As a result of my father making his own decisions, he continues to have strength and independence. My father is helping himself. He is able to handle conflicts and have self-determination. As social workers, we are to help and guide the client in the right direction and we must empower them to address his or her needs and to find their dignity and worth.

Value: Importance of Human Relationships
Ethical Principle: Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.

In my own experiences, I have seen the importance of relationships. After a tragic death in the family, my family and I were able to help one another with bereavement. We were able to grow together and form a stronger bond. As social workers, we must help our clients communicate with others. We must focus on their strengths and the positives they posses. We must help clients find purpose or maintain stability and find security with other people within in the community. As social workers, we must engage the client and others in their lives as partners in the helping process.

Value: Integrity
Ethical Principle: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.

In my own life experiences, individuals have misused my trust and did not behave in a trustworthy manner. For this reason, I have certain individuals I do not trust. I strongly believe trust is vital to wellbeing/relationships. As social worker, we must behave in a trustworthy manner and maintain confidentiality. We are not to act irresponsibly or be untruthful. We are to behave as professionals. Clients are looking for help from the social worker. If a client cannot trust the social worker, the client will not accept their help. The trust of the client must be earned. It takes time for the client to trust the social worker. The client is watching and waiting for the correct moment before sharing their information about their life. Trust and confidentiality is the key to the relationship between the social worker and the client.

Value: Competence
Ethical Principle: Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their profession expertise.

The last social work value is competence. As social workers, we must continue to study and increase our knowledge. With continuing education, we improve services and resources for the clients. We want the client to have the best resources he or she qualifies for. Social workers must focus on and be well informed on new resources. A social worker must stay up to date with guidelines and policies. A social worker’s skills and knowledge must be strong at all times. The client and the client’s needs should be the social worker’s main interest. The social worker is for the client and not against them. There may be a time when a client is not content with our services. However, social workers must obey the code of ethics and apply the values held by NASW. We must not step over the line to make the client happy. A social worker must stay within their practice or territory.

The second purpose of this essay is to show I have a clear understanding of social values and ethics. I understand my decisions and actions must be consistent with the values and ethics of NASW. As a social worker, I should help to provide service to my community in addressing social problems. I am to confront social injustice for all people. I understand all clients deserve respect, dignity and fairness. I understand relationships are an important part of a person’s well-being. For a social worker to be their best, they need to continue to educate him or herself.

As a future social worker, I cannot take personal baggage with me. I cannot help my clients if I have issues of my own. As a social worker, the client must be my interest and focus. I have learned not everyone can be helped.

As a social worker, I plan to advocate against social injustice and recognize the
oppression and discrimination that clients may face during unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness, or child neglect in their family. As a social worker, I will treat my clients with respect and dignity. As a social worker, I know this it is my responsibility to strengthen and empower my client.

National Assoication of Social Worker. (2011, October 31). Retrieved from Code of Ethics: