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Ethical Dilemma Essays

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This paper is going to explain the concept of ethical dilemma through a case study. It would explain the process on how to handle a dilemma through good communication and critical thinking. By the end of this paper, one would be able to understand the values and ethics of social work and how to use the ethical framework to solve an ethical dilemma. The paper would begin by explaining what an ethical dilemma is, then continue by using a case study to further explain what an ethical dilemma and how to resolve it. We are using Shebib’s framework to guide us in resolving the dilemma.

According to Shebib (2017) “an ethical dilemma exists when a choice must be made between competing values and potential courses of action” (p.11). From this definition, ethical dilemma happens when you have a duty to perform but your values do not agree with your duty. There are different types of ethical dilemmas. For example, when one has a policy in their place of work, and it oppresses a client. When professionals are faced with ethical dilemma situations, they have to use their professional code of ethics as a form of guidance on what to do. To further explain this concept of ethical dilemma, we would use a case study.

Suzanne is a social worker that works at a psychiatric hospital in the inpatient unit. Her job includes helping patients with their discharge plan and help connect patients to supports which includes housing. She is faced with an ethical dilemma during one of her cases. Which means she must make a choice between her values and how that would affect her next course of action. She does not know whether she should inform her client (Tom) about the rumors she heard or not. At the same time, she does not want her client to keep living in a shelter. Tom, who is Suzanne’s client is a 34-year-old man, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is currently homeless and has been living in shelters. His immediate goals are to find housing and ongoing outpatient support and his long-term goal is to go back to school to study carpentry. Suzanne has found out that there is a vacancy at a well-maintained mental health group home. The residents of this home even have their own private bedrooms. But she heard rumors that the housing staff of this home can be verbally abusive to the residents. As a social worker, Suzanne is to help clients achieve their goals but at the end of the day, their safety is a priority. Suzanne does not know what to do.

If I was the social worker in this situation, I would tell me client about the home, but I would also explain to him what I heard about this home. I would also try and investigate on how true the rumor is. No matter what, the choice is left for my client. I would make sure to lay all the information out for him to see and make up his mind. I would make sure I present the facts to my client to help him make his choice. If my client decides to the mental health group home, I would talk to the person in charge of the group home concerning the rumors I have heard, so that they can investigate it and reprimand the people involved. If my client decides not to attend the group home, then I would continue to help my client to continue to look for group homes that would accommodate him. At the end of the day, what I heard is simply a rumor and there are no evidence supporting this claim. This is why I have to inform my client about all the information I heard; because if I withhold this information from him, I could lose the trust of my client and put the safety of my client in jeopardy.

To solve this ethical dilemma, we would be using Shebib’s framework, which are gather facts, identify ethical issues and violation, identify possible options and strategies and take action. Gather facts: at this stage, one has to gather all the facts. Since Suzanne information is based on rumors, she has to confirms the rumors first. She has to make sure that they are facts. She has to get evidence that could support or deny the rumors that she heard. Then she has to identify the ethical issues and violations. Suzanne is a social worker, before she can move forward, she has to refer to her code of ethics. Social workers are governed by their code of ethics, which is called code of ethics: core social work values and principles. She has to make sure that the dilemma she is facing is addressed in the code. The ethical issue is that Suzanne is not sure whether she should share the information she heard with Tom or not. The next stage is to identify the possible options and strategies. In this stage, if appropriate, she would decide to consult her colleagues or supervisor. She has to also consult the person in charge of the mental health group home. She also has to talk to some of the other staffs that work in the home. She has to think of the advantages and disadvantages of taking action or not taking action. What the probable consequences might be, either short term or long term and so on. Then she has to take action.

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