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Social worker in a hospital Essay

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Updated: Apr 4th, 2019

Comparative Discussion

Social worker working in a hospital provides services to in-patient, out-patient and programs of the community. Encountering changes and difficulties with your health can be a very hard and worrying moment for patients and their family. There are numerous alarms and problems which can crop up for patients as they take medication and plan for their future.

In a hospital setting, social workers have values, ethics and principles to uphold. These principles and ethics help them maintain a favorable hospital setting. They provide help to patients and their families with regard to the extensive range of individual concerns and pragmatic needs which may occur during treatment. These key vales, ethics and principles include;

  • Understanding the hospital and the health services given by the hospital
  • Planning for release from hospital
  • Support in adjusting to ill health
  • Giving counsel and emotional support
  • Providing Information, encouragement and advocacy for patients
  • Giving Information and planning about planning for Residential care

Social Work is dedicated to working with patients and helping them to achieve the best possible levels of individual and social welfare in the context of sickness, disability, medication and recuperation. This is channeled by a vow to the pursuit of social justice and the enrichment of quality of life (Barsky 2009, p. 81). This is attained through immediate service provision, teaching and research and contributes to the objective of providing most favorable health care. Social Work is loyal to these essential values:

  • Human self-esteem and individual value
  • Social Justice
  • Service to humankind
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Competency

Social work is based on reverence for the inbuilt value and self-respect of all people, and the rights that follow from this. Social workers ought to support and guard each person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual uprightness and welfare. This entails:

  • Valuing the right to sovereignty – Social workers working in a hospital ward ought to value and give their support to patient’s human rights to make their own decisions, regardless of their principles and choices, as long as this does not impede the rightful interests of other people.
  • Encouraging the involvement right – Social workers are supposed to encourage patients to participate fully in ways issues affecting their lives.
  • Handling every patient individually
  • Discovering and developing strengths

Social workers and Nurses working in a hospital ward have different duties to carry. However some of their ethics, values and principles are similar while others are different. Social workers and nurses work hand in hand. The ethical values provide a basis for nursing foundation (Dixon 2002, p. 74). Ethical values/principles are described as a foundation for nurses’ decision making. The main and fundamental principles for nurses include

  • Respect for independence
  • Non-maleficence
  • Beneficience
  • Integrity
  • Justice

When making clinical judgments the following values are needed;

  • Veracity
  • Confidentiality
  • Fidelity
  • Loyalty

Nurses and social workers working in a hospital ward ought to be devoted to their work. The most essential value of professional behavior is respect for patients. This principle requires the social workers and nurses to treat patients and their families as worthy individuals. Basically, this means respecting patients’ autonomy. Respecting patients’ values, decisions and rights is the same as respecting their autonomy.

Nurses and social workers provide the patients with adequate information so that they can make an autonomous decision. This information should help them make up their mind free of compulsion or internal and external influences. In a hospital setting, this is promoted by providing informed consent to the patients. Social workers and nurses values entail carrying out their duties without harm; this is referred to as Nonmaleficence. Nurses and social workers interventions include;

  • Avoiding purposeful harm, danger of harm that arises during the performance of nursing and social work duties.
  • Considering the extent of risk permissible.
  • Determining whether the utilization of technological progress provides benefits that prevail over dangers.

Beneficence is also an ethical principle that involves endorsement of good deeds. This entails:

  • Social workers and nurses working in a hospital ward providing health benefits to the patients.
  • Balancing the advantages and dangers of harm.
  • Considering how a patient can be best helped.

Social workers and nurses should also be just; justice promotes equity and impartiality in every situation a social worker or a nurse encounters. This ensures fair distribution of resources and determining the manner in which patients are attended. Other values, ethics and principles shared by nurses and social workers working in a hospital ward include:

  • Veracity – This involves telling the truth and being honest
  • Confidentiality – This entails respecting confidential information
  • Fidelity – This entails keeping promises

In a hospital ward, social workers and nurses work together. Their principles, values and ethics are similar but they also vary. Nonetheless, the primary goal is to run the hospital smoothly. Social workers provide support and services to patients and their families. They help the patients and their families deal with the issues that come with hospitalization (Derr 2009, p. 101). Their principles and ethics revolve around evidence-based study and teaching initiatives within their programs which partners with educational institutions.

Social workers working in hospitals inevitably work together with other healthcare experts, and the viewpoints on social work held by medical doctors and advanced nurses are pertinent both to their affiliation with social workers and to the efficient running of the hospital (Kelly 2011, p. 45).

Social workers provide support and services to patients and families in all program areas at the Hospital. As a fundamental part of the health care panel, social workers play an imperative role in helping patients and their families handle the issues that can go along with hospitalization. They assist inpatients, outpatients and patients’ families to:

  • Cope with predicaments.
  • Handle sickness and other life stressors.
  • Help with sorrow, loss and grief issues.
  • Discover and resolve problems with relationships.
  • Improve communication with the healthcare panel to facilitate patients and families active partnership in their own healthcare.
  • Access community and hospital services.
  • Give information and reference on community resources for medication and support.

Health care team delivers services to culturally and linguistically diverse patients/clients. There are issues which arise when delivering these health care services. Some of these issues include; disparities. The origins of these disparities are multi-factorial and the greatest contributors are associated with the social and ecological determinants of indigenous health.

It has been established that offering cultural safety training to medical specialist can be one way of reducing these disparities. This logic originated from recurrent observations that inadequately handled cross cultural relations frequently brought about clinical consequences such as patient nonconformity, delays in acquiring informed consent and providing needless tests (Roberts 2009, p.173).

As a result, effort is ongoing to provide health experts with the knowledge and skills to deal with cross cultural challenges in the hospital encounter through an integrated indigenous health program.

Cultural competence is a significant foundation for effectual hospital and patient-centered care. As a notion, it improves the professional and principled role of health experts. Cultural competence is vital for health experts who struggle to deliver the greatest level of health care to all patients.

This concept is also applicable to linguistically and culturally diverse patients. Cultural safety and cultural competence are words which are greatly used in indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse health framework (Williams 2009, p. 68). Cultural competence centers on the ability of the health system to improve health and welfare by incorporating culture into the delivery of healthcare services.


Barsky, A 2009, Ethics and Values in Social Work: An Integrated Approach for Comprehensive Curriculum, Oxford University Press, Australia.

Dixon, J 2002, Social Welfare with Indigenous people, Routledge, Australia.

Derr, S 2009, Hospital Ethics Committees: Historical Development, Current Issues, and Recommendations, ProQuest, New Castle.

Kelly, P 2011, Nursing Leadership and Management, Cengage Learning, New Castle.

Roberts, A 2009, Social Workers’ Desk Reference, Oxford University Press, USA.

Williams, L 2006, Fundamentals of Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Melbourne.

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