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MSW 655 Ethical Social Work Practice

This course provides an in-depth examination of the history and current guiding statements on values and ethics in the social work profession.  Students grapple with ethical issues commonly encountered in indirect and direct social work practice, using an intersectional approach and the Code of Ethics - NASW as the common frame of reference. Intersections to be explored include personal and professional value systems; value conflicts and ethical dilemmas; ethical standards, workplace or program policies, and the law; frameworks for ethical decision making; the ethical imperative of self-care; and the roles of supervision and communities of practice as resources for development, support, and guidance in the development of practice wisdom.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Articulate a personal ethical worldview and evaluate its consonance with the ethical standards of the profession and other ethical decision-making references, such as the law and social welfare program policies. (C1a, C1b, C1c, C1d, C1e, C1f)
  2. Generate informed consent protocols that appropriately address the dual purposes of participation in social work intervention, practice research, and program evaluation. (C4a, C4d, C4e)
  3. Demonstrate an ethic of engaged pluralism to unite constituencies who identify a common need but who seek solutions oriented to diverse religious or ethical worldviews. (C5a)
  4. Identify opportunities to involve client systems in interpreting the ethical dimensions of their situations, and to balance safety and self-determination in resolving ethical dilemmas. (C6c; C7c, C7d; C8a)
  5. Apply ethical decision-making frameworks to discuss how a recent court decision, or a proposed law or policy change, either poses or resolves a challenge to ethical social work practice. (C9a)
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of provider self-regulation and self-care in  attuned and ethically sound clinical social work practice (C1b)

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: MSW645 Generalist Field Experience I with Seminar or Advanced Standing

Learn more about the coursework in the Advanced Standing and Traditional tracks of the online Master of Social Work from Saint Mary's. Call 877-308-9954 to speak with an enrollment counselor or request more information.