560 Professional Ethicsportfolio

JANUARY 1, 2015
Alex and Zoe
Debra Yeager
Concordia University
22 July2014
I think there are many problems here. First and foremost Alex has unresolved feelings
for Zoe, and did not express this to his supervisor as he should have. This could have helped
avoid many of the issues that presented themselves, because someone (such as his supervisor)
could have assisted in this situation. I feel that Alex’s responsibility was first to the hospital and
the code of ethics that he is held on when it comes to the situation of Zoe. He should have
requested assistance from his supervisor. By not doing this and transferring Zoe to the Prison,
which could have harmed her treatment plan and the reputation of not just the prison, but the
hospital and Alex, he may have actually put Zoe in harm’s way. Because of the nature of the
relationship with Zoe, more individuals should have been involved in this decision. Alex’s
supervisor should have been involved in the care of Zoe.
Alex has aids, which I am not sure if he has to report that to his employer or not, however
I feel that for the safety of his colleagues and his patients, someone in the organization should
know, in order to assist in the event of an emergency.
The relationship between Alex and his supervisor is a dual relationship. The relationship
with Zoe and Alex is also a dual relationship. There may have even been a dual relationship
with the hospital and the prison because of the lack of the prison reporting the sexual intercourse
between Alex and Zoe to no one else. It makes me question the relationships between the prison
and the hospital and the individuals that work at both places.
I feel that the responsibility of the prison guard was not just after discovering them
having sexual relations, but prior to that. I feel that prisons are responsible for keeping an eye on
visitors and inmates. This may have never happened if the prison guard was doing his duties to
ensure the safety of the inmates and the visitors. Normally when inmates have visitors there are
rules as to how close the two can be, and there is usually someone watching the two interact to
ensure that nothing is being given to the inmate and nothing happens that could harm those two
individuals or the security of the prison. I believe that someone at the prison knew this was
happening before Alex’s supervisor was made aware of the situation. I feel that the guard
informing Alex’s supervisor was the first step, but the guard should have notified his supervisor
as well and sought out guidance from his leaders in the prison.
The responsibility of the hospitals clinical director is to report the incident to the
authorities and most likely fire Alex for his unethical acts and for the decisions he made. The
clinical director (being Alex’s best friend) perhaps should have known more about this situation.
He should have known where his employee was going, how often and whom he was going to
see. The clinical director is first responsible to the hospital and the patients, and then to the code
of ethics. Even though the prison may not be his jurisdiction, Alex used his work to visit Zoe in
prison, and so committed the acts under his profession. In order to protect Zoe and future clients
from these actions, the Clinical Director must report the sexually inappropriate behavior and at
least suspend Alex pending investigation. But, if I were the Clinical director, whether I was a
friend or not of Alex, I would have to report the act and fire Alex for his inappropriate
relationship with a patient.
I currently do not work in the field, however there is a code of ethics in every job, and in
the school one of our codes was to not have personal relationships with students and their
families at all, except for school functions, and home visits in which we were to relate to the
child and their family and invest interest in their personal life, without ever becoming a part of it.
Taking care of Animals
Debra Yeager
Concordia University
22 July2014
I have been in this situation many times, and even though I do not feel that this should
present an issue with any position, I have heard that it complicates the professional relationship.
I see no harm in taking care of a colleagues home or animals, however when it is the supervisor
it can complicate the relationship, or put the two individuals in compromising situations at some
point. It also may be perceived as favoritism in other individual’s eyes. I guess for me
personally I would need to know if me performing this duty outside of work would complicate
the job or the professional relationship we have.
Recent information has shared that “technological advances can usher in ethical
unknowns” and can “blur the boundary lines between counselors’ personal and professional
lives.” (Shallcross,2011,para.20). Asking someone you supervise will also blur the lines of both
personal and professional lives, but it is more of a norm now. It is clear that this complicates
things, even as small as watching pets and homes while your supervisor is on vacation, the lines
could be blurred Even though no one wants to complicate the professional relationship with their
supervisor, it would be appropriate to say no with an apology. Saying no, though, could
complicate the relationship anyways, so either way I feel that there will be issues.
When it was asked of me at my last place of employment, I had to assess the situation
and the professional relationship I had with the person whom asked me. There are many times
that I decided that based on the characteristics of the individual I could not help, and others I
could if it didn’t challenge our professional relationship. When I had to say “no” to individuals
that needed a house and dog sitter, I kindly offered a business card for someone that I knew and
trusted that provided this service professionally.
Of course as we all read in chapter 10, the military does value many things that are
similar to those of social work, and even with the UCMJ, we definitely beat to a different drum.
Watching a supervisor’s home and animals is not unheard of in the military setting, nor is it
really even questioned in our day to day life. We all make these decisions based on the needs
and the potential down falls if all were to go wrong. Part of our life is helping others because we
have no family close; we become family, and even though we are fully aware that confidentiality
is not as protected in our lives, the needs out weight this in most of these situations. Even though
it may not be appropriate to watch my supervisors animals and house for $200 while away on
vacation (more likely in my situation –emergency leave) I would not hesitate to help, I would
however probably not collect payment, but I would act in a helpful manner, because that is our
Dolgoff, R., Harrington, D., & Loewenberg, F. M. (2012). Ethical decisions for social work
practice (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Shallcross, L. (2011, April). Do the right thing | Counseling Today. Retrieved July 22, 2014,
from http://ct.counseling.org/2011/04/do-the-right-thing/
Ethics in My Profession
Debra Yeager
Concordia University
6 August 2014
There are many ethics in Human Services and many that put individuals in questionable
positions. Individuals do not just experience ethical dilemmas at work, but in their personal lives
as well. Some experiences define how individuals see certain programs, agencies or even
medical facilities. It is important to use these ethical issues to learn from and to address and
understand further before being put directly in the middle of it. Some people are lucky enough,
like students, to be shared these ethical issues prior to experiences them professionally. I have
focused on the information that I think is the most important to share with professionals, young
or old, new or dedicated for years, it is always important to focus on the stronger issues to ensure
that individuals do not make the mistakes of those that have been examples.
Privacy is one big ethical issue that has impacted me directly during this course.
Learning about privacy and confidentiality has helped me to understand how I can protect the
client and myself as well as my employer. There are many important aspects of privacy and
confidentiality, these aspects conflict sometimes, but are important in the field and for protecting
the client, as well as the impacts that client has on society. The informed consent which is
applicable here with confidentially shares what we can and cannot share about the client and how
we can better help them with the services they need. It is imperative to understand how to
protect the client and help them at the same time,
Of course, in any situation confidentiality could cause some harm or conflicts or could
hurt the client, social worker or even people in the community. Social workers need to be able to
speak to clients about risk and conflicts that occur in certain situations. They can support each
other through this helping process by protecting privacy and confidentially but by understanding
how the client may impact others and the limits of the confidentiality.
I learned a lot about HIPPA recently as well, not just in class but in my personal
experience. HIPPA protects the patient and the situation they are in. While on the phone with
the nurse, the nurse asked another fellow nurse “If she has the code, what do I tell her” the other
nurse responded “You can tell her anything you want to”, of course with the code, I have full
access to my father’s health and his file, so perhaps I should not get upset, however, I felt that the
nurse telling the other nurse that she could tell me whatever she wants was not protecting my
father or his information or being respectful about it. What should have been said is you can
answer any questions she has pertaining to her father, if you know the answer.
With this lesson, I didn’t just learn about HIPPA and the privacy of patients, but I also
learned that how you say something can change someone’s ideas about a situation or can change
the respect individuals have for not just that person, but the profession as well. When she shared
that the nurse could tell me anything she wanted, I felt that they could chose what to tell and
what not to tell, or they could decide what not to share. This frustrated me because we have
HIPPA codes for this purpose and the hospital assured us that we will get the information we
want and need with the code. Even though this hasn’t been directly discussed, I think
professionals from many different professions need to learn how to be careful with wording and
how to speak to others, or how to be more private about information such as this.
Value neutrality is something that I have learned a lot about this course with that deals
with the ethics of this profession and how to handle clients. This is a hard concept for many
people to learn and live. Being neutral on issues is not something that many humans are good at,
we have opinions and we stand by our opinions, however there is a time and a place to hold those
opinions and with patients or clients, there is no room for personal opinions or values. Our main
mission is to assist those that need assisted and to support them in making their own decisions
and to be responsible for their own actions. We are to support them and their decisions as
workers, and then keep our values at bay.
The concept of dual relationships and what I have learned about the issues around them
that compromise social work are also important ethical issues of the job. Of course many people
understand what a dual relationship is and what happens when a dual relationship is complicating
the care of a client, but not many individuals understand when they are in a dual relationship or
the limits of the professional relationship. Many times it has been mentioned that some things
that would happen with a social worker are based on the relationship with the client, others are
forms of cultures that many others may not be aware of. Helping a boss out, accepting gifts and
perhaps even touching clients can be considered ethical conflicts of the relationship in the
profession and it is important to be aware of these issues and to understand that even though you
may know that nothing is going on, the perception of others should always be a concern.
Another great thing I have learned that needs to be highlighted for future human service
professionals is that each and every client is different. People come in many shapes and sizes,
with different skin, religion and culture. The first time you meet the client the human service
worker should get to know the client and their needs, but also who they are, what they believe in
and what if anything would impact their choices and functioning. All too often people assume
that choices are black and white, but our text and other research I have done shows differently.
A woman may want an abortion, but will find herself in a hard place because of her religion or
the culture she was brought up in. It is imperative to understand your client as a whole, not just
their needs, and when a social worker understands the whole client, it will be easier to assist
them and get them the help they need.
The biggest concern for any human services professional is limited resources. Limited
resources have been an issue in my professions for years, but it is clear that human services are
feeling an extreme of limited sources and are suffering from it. Resources are limited and it is
causing hardship for professionals and for the clients that need these resources. Once the
professionals are aware of the limited resources they can work through the needs of clients and
get the most sever needs met first. This does cause complications with other individuals that
need services as well, but are not in dire need as much as others. This compromise’s the care
clients get, but also the relationships that social workers have with their clients.
With all the information I have shared herein, it is important to understand that all of
these issues tie together to make a very complicated profession. This profession needs good
people in it, it needs professionals to understand the limitations of the profession and the
hardships that they have to face daily, as well as the hardships of the clients. The continual
struggle with the programs and limited resources, as well as the ethical complications such as
dual relationships and confidentiality definitely cause even more concern for professionals in
Human services.
Here I have shared several ethical issues of this profession that need to be highlighted for
new human service professionals and even for current professionals. It is important to address
and re-address these issues to human service professionals. These issues are important factors
for those individuals looking to get education in the field of human services. Individuals must be
aware of these issues and the dilemmas they most likely will face in the field and the
complications it could cause in their personal lives. Most importantly, being aware of these
issues can help the individual emotionally prepare for the profession they are going into and also
for the expectations they may have. Having this knowledge can prepare human services
workers, and can enhance their experience as social workers or similar positions in this field.
Conflict with Code of Ethics
Debra Yeager
Concordia University
12 August 2014
After the last few weeks I have defiantly had to have a moment with myself and what I
am willing or able to do. I like to think that any one of us could help save a life, or change a life,
but the truth is, you can only save what wants to be saved, and assist those that want to change
their own life. When it comes to the code of ethics, I think that there are many items that I can
embrace and stand by my client on, such as this week’s readings. The end of life decisions make
me contemplate just how bad their situation is. My father mentioned to me on the phone that he
may thinking of this, because the pain is so intense. While I struggle to cope with the potential
loss of my father, who am I to criticize his choice or just his investigating of his choices in this
matter. No one knows his pain, or what he has already been through, and with the world the way
it is, even though I wouldn’t end my life, I am starting to understand that this is not a choice for
me to make, but those that are thinking of doing it. My father actually quoted this line to me
from our text “Competent individuals should have the opportunity to make their own choices but
only after being informed of all options and consequences.” (Dolgoff, Harrington, &
Loewenberg, 2012, p. 222) My father stating this to me makes me aware that he has a very good
social worker that has been clear and has answered any questions he has had.
I would definitely conflict with some ideas of the duty to warn or protect. My
understanding is that the duty to warn “refers to responsibility of a counselor or therapist to
inform third parties or authorities if a client poses a threat to himself or herself or to another
identifiable individual”(Cherry,2014). I think the complicated thing for me would be to
differentiate the threats or dangers and the severity of them. There is a good chance that what I
perceive to be a threat or danger may not be perceived the same way by someone else. I will
have to work on this part continually.
Even though I value confidentiality and all it entails, I think it will be a struggle just
because the way society is now with technology. I will have to try extra hard to comply with the
code of ethics when it comes to confidentiality. One situation that will complicate things is
when my client is asking me to keep important information confidential from family while very
sick. This complicates an already difficult situation that I am not sure I would know how to
handle it. When the patient dies, what if there was information that is very important to be
shared about the client? What if the information the dying patient has is detrimental to a family
member’s health or survival? This limit would cause me a great deal of conflict.
If I would be confronted with situations that are challenging for me, I would have to
discuss the issues with a coworker, or supervisor. I think individuals in every profession need
time to discuss issues with other professionals in their field, and I feel that when I have a conflict
so strong that I cannot come to a decision or what to do, I must get assistance and help myself
and my client move forward.
Cherry, K. (2014). What is the Definition of Duty to Warn? Retrieved August 12, 2014, from
Dolgoff, R., Harrington, D., & Loewenberg, F. M. (2012). Ethical decisions for social work
practice (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Reflection of 560 Professional Ethics
Debra Yeager
Concordia University
During this course I was dealing with my father’s sickness and all the programs that he
was being helped by and all the services he was being given. I learned a lot during this time of
dealing with the terrible situation about professional ethics and how easy it is to cross that line
when in desperate situations.
We discussed many situations that we could all be in at some point. Drugs in a home
with children and being scared to discuss it because of what it may do to situations in the
community. This complicates the services being given as well as the future of the service agency
and its clients.
Another important discussion that will never see the end is duty to warn and duty to
protect. The Duty to warn and the duty to protect are very important aspects of the field and are
often confused and are a complicated ideal in its own. I often worry about people in those
situations and what they may do in certain areas, but it is pretty clear that no matter what we do
or say, these issues will be around for a while.
We discussed many ethical dilemmas in the field and how we would all handle them, we
also discussed some issues that just should not be a part of our field, even though they will be.
Even though we may be helping a client, we cannot do everything for them, nor make the
choices for them. We have to support them in making their own choices and leading them to
being independent, which is very hard when you see people making so many mistakes.
My favorite part of this course is being able to interview an old friend that now works for
the state of Nebraska. She loves her job and helping people and thrives on doing better each and
every time she meets someone. She has a lot of faith and hope that things will work out, and
lucky for her, things seem to.
This course has given me a great deal of insight on situations to avoid, how to support
team members and how to take care of myself and protect myself in the field. But, ultimately,
this course has given me great tools to become better in the field.