It is my belief that in order for someone in the social work profession to serve vulnerable populations it was intended to serve, it is imperative to use critical thinking and ethical decision making in tandem to achieve the optimal result. The balance is a delicate and often complex. It requires a close examination or critically thinking, of all the issues not just within yourself, but the community as a whole, the individuals within it, and the client population that the social work serves. The social work profession is built on the foundation that each individual has equal worth and individual rights to self determination. Some mistakenly believe that this means simply doing what is right, but then the decision making is not based on critical thinking and ethics but one’s personal beliefs and does not keep in guidelines with the ethical guidelines that governs social work practice. As stated on the web site for The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University (2009):
Making good ethical decisions requires a trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision and weighing the considerations that should impact our choice of a course of action. Having a method for ethical decision making is absolutely essential. When practiced regularly, the method becomes so familiar that we work through it automatically without consulting the specific steps.
To make critically thought out and ethically sound decisions, you should evaluate, analyze, and then implement the solution.
A framework for ethical decision making was developed and is utilized to provide a guide for ease of use. This Ethical Framework is a product of dialogue and debate of Manuel Velasquez, Dennis Moberg, Michael J. Meyer, Thomas Shanks, Margaret R. McLean, David DeCosse, Claire André, and Kirk O. Hanson. (2009) at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. The first step is to recognize the ethical issue. The second step involves getting the facts about your social issue. Next, it requires the social worker to evaluate alternative actions by asking ethics approach questions. Fourth, it sets for the social worker to make a decision and test it and lastly, for the worker to act and then reflect on the outcome.
To work through the ethical framework the social worker needs to be able to give critical thought to the issue as it arises and then use those critical thinking skills to complete the framework. When looking at client or social issues from a critical thought process, you should ask is everything of equal importance or is some part of it more important than another. Critically thought analysis should be used to determine that. At each step in the ethical decision making process, you need to be able to use critical thinking skills to determine if you have sufficient information to move on to the next step in the process. You may determine that additional information is...