Do You Have the Values of a Social Worker?
Social work is an occupation that has its own code of ethics, established by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the largest professional organization for social workers. The goals of the NASW include advancing the profession, developing and maintaining professional practice standards, promoting human rights and social justice, and bettering communities.1
The NASW Code of Ethics—which applies to both social workers and social work students, regardless of role or setting—serves as the foundation for the profession.2 It can also be a useful tool when workers face ethical dilemmas with their clients. The core values of this code of ethics are service, dignity and worth, human relationships, integrity, competence, and social justice.
As each value is discussed, think about whether it aligns with your own values.2
As a committed social worker, service to others and to communities in need is placed above self-interest. Service also includes volunteer and pro bono work.
Dignity and Worth
According to this value, social workers demonstrate cultural competence and respect every person, regardless of cultural and personal differences.
Social workers value the importance of human relationships and believe that social relationships contribute to the well-being of society. A core aspect of the profession is promoting positive relationships and restoring, maintaining, and enhancing relationships among members of families, organizations, communities, and social groups.
Having integrity means abiding by a distinct moral code. The ethical values social workers abide by each day are meant to establish a sense of trust between workers and the people they serve.1
Displaying competence means working to the best of our abilities and seeking new knowledge and skills to apply in professional practice.1 In addition to ongoing professional development, social workers should strive to contribute new knowledge and observations to the field.
The value of social justice is about challenging injustices faced by underserved individuals and groups. Social workers prioritize fighting injustices related to poverty, homelessness, prejudice, and discrimination and promoting cultural sensitivity and inclusion.
If these values are important to you and you believe you could abide by them professionally, a career in social work may be for you—and that journey begins with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
Walden University’s online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and prepares students to apply ethical principles and critical thinking to future practice. In addition to a supportive online community and expert faculty members, the program features realistic simulations and hands-on experiences, academic preparation for future social work licensure exams, and the opportunity to pursue a seamless path into Walden’s CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program.
Also, Walden Undergraduate AcademyTM can help first-time adult college students build the confidence and academic skills they need to succeed in their program. This online learning community provides ample resources and dedicated support, as well as tuition savings.
Walden University is an HLC-accredited institution offering a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University's Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
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