Ethical Dilemmas In Social Work Essay

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From time to time, social work practitioners face different challenges and one of such example is being confronted with ethical dilemmas. An ethical dilemma is defined as “when the social worker sees himself or herself as facing a choice between two equally unwelcoming alternatives, which may involve a conflict of moral values, and it is not clear which choice will be the right one” (Banks, 2012). Ethical dilemmas can occur in the context of either client or organisational-related conflict situations at work. The first ethical dilemma is when the patient refuses medical treatment and services because he or she would not accept that there is any problem. The dilemma lies in how the social work practitioner would respect the patient’s autonomy…show more content…
Despite social workers best efforts to keep their feelings in check and to respect differences, being confronted with situations in which their values and morals conflict with those of their clients is a common scenario. For example, one may feel uncomfortable dealing with clients because of his or her sexual orientation. This issue arises because of the practitioner’s religious affiliation which results in the practitioner being unable to accept homosexuality. Another example, a pregnant client, ask her pro-life social worker for help obtaining an abortion. As the act of abortion conflicts with the social workers’ values, they may feel torn. And instead, they may wish to encourage the client to choose another alternative. Hence, in such cases, the practitioners faced the struggle between balancing their own value systems and their professional obligation as a social worker. The third ethical dilemma is when the social work practitioner overheard the conversation between the patient and her family members that the hospital staff has been verbally abusing the patient. However, the social work practitioner does not have any evidence to prove the abuse. She is also unsure whether the patient wishes to report this issue. The social worker was presented with the ethical dilemma of choosing between respecting the patient’s confidentiality or intervening to disclose and report the issue to the hospital
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