As a professional, you will develop working relationships with patients who have encountered various social problems. Therefore, it is important to plan, design, and conduct research that reflect ethical principles and address specific problems. Patients are identified as individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Therefore, when addressing specific social problems, it is important to understand that clientsâ right to privacy and confidentiality is a key component. Although you may be a professional who adheres to confidentiality as a professional ethical standard, you may work with other professionals who may not respect and/or honor the privacy of clients. As you read the following case study, be sure to identify specific ethical principles, theories, social problems, and research implications (plans/topics that would address the issues):
Ann works as a licensed social worker for a non-profit human service agency located in a rural area. Her primary duties include counseling individuals and small groups. The staff consists of an executive director, a psychologist, supervisor of social work services, teachers, and childcare workers. The agency contracts with the local child protective service agency to provide services to parents and families whose child(ren) have been placed in foster care due to child abuse or neglect. The parents who receive services are court ordered to complete a treatment plan to include counseling (individual and/or group) in order to regain custody of their child(ren). The agency provides intense family preservation services Monday to Friday from 8:30 â 4:30 to include individual and group counseling, parenting classes, and educational services.
Jasmine is a nineteen-year-old mother of a two-year-old daughter who was placed in foster care due to maltreatment and âfailure to thrive.â She attends therapeutic group sessions twice weekly with Ann, along with other parents whose children were also placed in foster care. Jasmine divulges to her caseworker (child protective services) that she tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). She is also a Type II diabetic who tests her glucose levels in the bathroom during breaks. Annâs co-workers are aware that Jasmine uses a glucometer several times during the day to monitor her diabetes while she receives services at the agency.
Janet is a nurse practitioner at an outpatient clinic who is Jasmineâs primary care provider. Janet and Ann previously worked together at Rose Memorial Hospital where Ann did her first year social work placement. Ann had reached out to Janet previously with her concerns about Jasmine not managing her diabetes properly. During their conversation, Janet also brought up Janetâs concerns about Jasmineâs noncompliance with her HIV treatment regime. Ann was surprised to find out that Jasmine was HIV positive but said nothing to Janet about this information being new to her.
The executive director, Mary, becomes very angry when she is informed (not by Ann) that Jasmine is HIV positive. During a treatment team staffing, the executive director suggests that Ann speak privately with Jasmine in order to persuade her to inform the other clients (who attend group sessions with Jasmine) that she is HIV positive. The executive director states that Jasmine places the staff and the other clients at risk when she pricks her finger to test her glucose level. Mary also states that if Jasmine refuses to inform her group members of her HIV status, it is Annâs obligation as the agencyâs social worker to disclose Jasmineâs private information (during a group session) to the other clients who attend the group sessions. Mary, the executive director, is not a trained counselor or social worker but she believes that it will be therapeutic for Jasmine and the clients if she shared her HIV status with the group.
Please respond to the following:
For this paper read the case scenario outlined above to develop a hypothetical ethical dilemma response and demonstrate an appropriate ethical decision-making process. The case scenario also includes various social problems which you will identify as well as ethical dilemmas to which you will apply ethical principles, theories and decision-making processes. You will address several substantial areas in your analysis:
Identify and discuss a specific social problem in the case study.Identify one ethical dilemma and the stakeholders involved.Summarize the main ethical concerns presented in the dilemma, including references to specific ethical standards and codes.Identify, define and apply ethical principles and theories.Outline and apply the ethical decision-making process you would use if you were one of the professionals.Identify any missing information which might help you in the ethical decision-making processProvide a clear recommendation using the ethical decision-making process as your basis for your recommendation.Finalize your analysis (paper) so it is a polished academic discussion on professional ethical standards, and ethical decision making.
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Addressing Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Practice: A Case Study Analysis
In the given case study, a myriad of ethical dilemmas and social problems are presented, highlighting the need for professionals to navigate complex situations with integrity and adherence to ethical standards. One of the specific social problems identified in this scenario is the confidentiality and privacy rights of clients, particularly in the context of sensitive health information.
Ethical Dilemma and Stakeholders Involved
The primary ethical dilemma in this case revolves around the disclosure of Jasmine’s HIV status to other clients attending group sessions. The stakeholders involved include Ann (the social worker), Jasmine, the agency’s executive director Mary, Janet (Jasmine’s nurse practitioner), and other clients who attend group sessions with Jasmine.
Main Ethical Concerns and Application of Ethical Principles
The main ethical concerns stem from the potential breach of confidentiality and privacy rights of Jasmine. As a social worker, Ann is bound by ethical standards such as the NASW Code of Ethics, which emphasizes the importance of client confidentiality and informed consent. Revealing Jasmine’s HIV status without her consent not only violates her privacy rights but also undermines the trust essential for effective therapeutic relationships.
Ethical Principles and Decision-Making Process
In this scenario, principles such as autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice come into play. Autonomy dictates that individuals have the right to make decisions about their own health information. Beneficence requires professionals to act in the best interest of the client, ensuring their well-being. Non-maleficence emphasizes the duty to do no harm, including protecting clients from emotional distress or stigma. Justice demands fairness and equality in treatment.
To address this dilemma, a systematic ethical decision-making process must be followed. This includes assessing the situation, identifying stakeholders’ perspectives, considering ethical principles, exploring alternative courses of action, and making a well-informed decision that upholds ethical standards and respects clients’ rights.
Missing Information and Recommendation
One key missing piece of information that could aid in the ethical decision-making process is Jasmine’s perspective on disclosing her HIV status. Understanding her wishes and concerns is crucial in determining the most ethically sound course of action.
Based on the ethical decision-making process outlined above, it is recommended that Ann engage in a private conversation with Jasmine to discuss the implications of disclosing her HIV status to the group. Respect for Jasmine’s autonomy and privacy should be prioritized, while also exploring ways to ensure the safety and well-being of all clients involved.
In conclusion, this case study underscores the importance of upholding ethical standards in social work practice, especially when dealing with sensitive information and complex interpersonal dynamics. By navigating ethical dilemmas with care, empathy, and a commitment to client-centered care, professionals can maintain trust, promote well-being, and uphold the integrity of their practice.
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