Journal Article

Social Work Ethical Decision Making in an Inter-Disciplinary Context

Kit Sum Syrine Yeung, Amy Po Ying Ho, Man Chun Hui Lo and Engle Angela Chan

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 5, pages 1573-1590
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Work Ethical Decision Making in an Inter-Disciplinary Context

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In order to strengthen social work students' competence in ethical reasoning, three inter-disciplinary seminars were organised in which a group of final-year social work and nursing undergraduates jointly discussed and reflected on ethical decision making. Both social work and nursing students respected a client's rights to make decisions and choices, but they attributed different priority to this ethical principle when it came to making decisions on which professional intervention was based. Social work students continued to regard self-determination as the primary principle, whereas nursing students made a shift in principle from autonomy to a duty to care. The differences in applying professional values are conceived as the result of a web of personal, cultural, professional and organisational features. It is suggested that both the theory and practice of social work ethical decision making can be advanced by more individual reflection grounded on a plurality of perspectives.

Keywords: Social work education; ethical decision making; ethical reasoning; self-determination; duty of care

Journal Article.  6797 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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