ugg coquette slippers The Evolution of Social Work Technology in the 21st Century
The generalist approach subscribes to the eclectic methodology for what Social Workers do. The application of the generalist approach is by nature nebulous. In an advanced technological society, practice technology is less forthcoming in the absence of technologically based skill. Evidence Based Practiced entails a series of scientific research procedures. It is intended for the application of rigorous expertise to arrive at the most effective intervention based upon objective research findings. Subsequently Evidence Based Practice is then critical to accommodate social services in the 21st century.
Evidence Based Practice (EBP) as Social Work technology is compulsory in a changing racial, ethnic, and cultural environment. Heretofore, technology vis Social Work is defined as the application of objective science to practice. Kaufman and Raymond (1996) conclude that public perceptions of Social Work as a genuine profession is significant because community sanction is essential to its survival. Andrews (1987) contends that a favorable public perception is a needed element in sustaining a profession, and the sustaining process should involve continuous marketing of the profession and its services to the general public as well as professional peers. Additionally, according to Roff and Klemmack (1983), perceptions of Social Workers can be an indirect measure of the potential support for a variety of social services. Public perceptions also significantly impact upon individual willingness to seek assistance from Social Workers and similar helping professionals (Andersen Newman, 1973; Von Sydow Reimer, 1998). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the perceptions of Social Work as a profession grounded in its own technology contribute to its ability to attract qualified students and other prospective personnel to sustain its future (Kaufman Raymond, 1996). The outcome will influence the ability of Social Work to remain a viable component of the social services vocation.
The objective of this paper is the introduction of EBP as a legitimate technology significant to the evolution of Social Work practice. Orientation to said introduction will provide the Social Work intelligentsia and its professional peers with the specifics by which its credibility and professional status can be enhanced. It will illuminate some of the heretofore uncorroborated criticisms that have been attributed to the profession lack of a technological expertise. Such an exposition is ultimately designed to enhance an understanding of the unique blend of values, ethics and social justice that has enabled Social Work to advocate the status of a legitimate profession. The outcome will provide a glimpse of the future where Social Work practitioners will permeate every level of the social service community, dedicated to the emergence of an increasingly diverse, racially indistinct Social Work clientele.
The current status of Social Work is perceived universally as one that is semi professional and less rigorous than that of the so called true professions (Hall, 2000). That perception is assumed of its current technology where performance is less measurable and less amenable to public scrutiny. Said technology may also be performed in a less amenable setting necessitating the need for constant evaluation. Subsequently, Social Workers seek and require community sanction and at times are admonished for what they do. Such actions are less indicative of bonafide professionals. That is, the public is not likely to review the work of attorneys nor is the public likely to review the work of politicians for quality assurance. No attorney is expected to justify their courtroom strategy to anyone other than the client. On the other hand Social Work practitioners must satisfy both client and the public at large. External checks and balances are rare among legal professionals unlike the so called Social Worker (Rosen, Proctor, Morrow Howell Staudt, 1995).
Perhaps the most startling perception of Social Workers is currently revealed in the examination of stereotypes held by helping professionals themselves (including Social Workers) towards one another. The findings concur with the negative notions of the general public. Koeske, Koeske, and Mallinger (1993) surveyed mental health care professionals attitudes towards one another, concluding that clinical Social Workers were rated highest as with respect to warmth by all respondents but received the fewest referrals from others employed in the field. In a comparable study, Folkins, Wieselberg, and Spensely (1981) concluded that psychiatric Social Workers were more likely than psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatric technicians to harbor negative stereotypes of other professionals. These findings were attributed to the assumed of psychiatric Social Workers based upon relatively lower rates of compensation and prestige. Studies such as the aforementioned, while less than complimentary reveal the need to further establish with some consistency a synopsis of what the current status of Social Work is.
By way of serious scrutiny, Social Work qualifies for acceptance into the fold of professional occupations. The rationale for its acceptance extends from the generalist approach. The generalist approach facilitates the use of various models, theories, and techniques as necessary for effective micro and macro level practice (Tucker, 1996). This concept is particularly useful upon initiation of service with a specific client. It enhances the ability of the practitioner to define, assess, and identify the most appropriate intervention for the desired outcome commensurate with the profession system of ethics.
Germane to the rigor of Social Work and professions in toto is its standard of ethics. For those who are less knowledgeable about the profession of Social Work, acknowledgement of the importance of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 1990) may be less forthcoming. The NASW is the origin of the Social Work Code of Ethics. Were it not for the existence of a Code of Ethics under which bonafide Social Workers operate client populations might suffer unnecessary risks at the mercy of imposters and/or frauds.
The obvious goal of the NASW Code of Ethics is to insure that Social Workers practice a standard of behavior that will minimize harm to clients (Bersoff, 1999). Given that ethics are associated with rather sensitive areas, as a policy institution, the NASW has been less enthusiastic about responding to controversial areas of practice. It moves only when required by law or community sanction. But the fact is Social Workers are different from most other professionals. Ethics for practitioners are an extremely important part of services rendered (Abramson, 1990; Beckerman, 1991). That because as a profession Social Work requires community sanction and to obtain said sanction requires a sound ethical core to be considered competent (Levy, 1976, p. 14). Were Social Workers to operate absent a Code the profession would be exposed to increased risks to its competency both as a profession and individual practitioners. That exposes clients at risk who can then be exploited by any imposter who wants to assume the role of a Social Worker. The long term affects of imposters if ignored will be to damage the professional esteem of Social Workers because they will lose community sanction. Their ethical problems will unnecessarily attract attention that may actually extend from otherwise good practice circumstances which will further create ethical dilemmas (Loewenberg Dolgoff, 1992, p.7).
In fact it is difficult according to predict ethical practice simply on the basis of an existing ethical Code (1984). According to Rest (1984), the prediction is impossible given the universe of potential impacts upon human behavior. If that assumption is assumed to be true, then the client/worker relationships may not be irrelevant to judgment and behavior on the part of practitioners. Forsyth and Berger (1982) and Forsyth and Nye (1990) concur. According to both it is possible to anticipate judgments based upon ethical codes, but similar logic does not apply to human behavior. Consequently it is apparent that a relationship exists between the preferred perception of Social Work as an ethics grounded profession and the elimination of certain types of undesirable behavior by Social Work practitioners including those which ignore ethics.
The evolution of Social Work has not been irrelevant to the norms of the profession which has encouraged new and dynamic practice options. Early on in its history Social Work technology consisted primarily of case work, group work and community organization. Social Work practitioners were educated and trained to conduct social services in limited skill areas including children and families or policy and administration. As their service context broadened the profession was confronted by the need to expand practitioner competency to address a wide variety of areas (Ashman Hull 1999). This need resulted in the application of the generalist approach.
subscribes to the eclectic methodology for what Social Workers do. Eclecticism extends from a multi disciplinary history that has resulted in a complexity of interpretations that frequently overlap. Under the circumstances there can be no singular practice technology. Furthermore, in traditional terms there exists no singular standard demarcation between those Social Workers who by generalist approach are deemed technologically competent and those who are deemed technologically incompetent. This fact extends from the subjective application of the generalist approach which compromises its technological worth.
The application of the generalist approach is by nature nebulous. Its nebulous construction is suited to an understanding of the individual within their biopsychosocial environment and its resulting demands. The generalist approach then allows the Social Worker to respond not only to the immediate and obvious stresses upon the client, but include the stresses brought by the community and the society at large in a systems configuration. The Social Work practitioner trained in the generalist approach will thus address the immediate stresses of the client but simultaneously confer with agencies, organizations, institutions and the community as a whole to undertake the conditions which precipitated client stress. It uses a holistic design rather than methods of comprehensive specificity (Gibbs, Locke Lohman, 1990). The application of the generalist approach to Social Work is thus a practice perspective given to the interactions between systems and dedicated to the goals of social justice, client autonomy and system function.
As with most helping professions the Social Work practitioner must develop intervention skills based upon the needs of the client. The generalist approach was initiated as a process for incorporating the multitude of systems and the dynamic influences of the client biopsychosocial environment. The generalist approach is also based largely on a scientific model and is essentially contingent upon systems theory. While the practice environment is not irrelevant to systems theory, the generalist approach requires that the Social Worker also hone a set of skills effective for intervening with a variety of client stresses. Said Worker must then be poised to address any manifestations of private dysfunctions as well as the public and/or institutional. It is then the objective of the generalist practitioner using a holistic frame, to confront client dysfunctions relative to their needs and involving their participation (Stewart, 2008). Thus, in essence, the generalist Social Work practitioner is ideally regarded by the profession as one who is qualified to resolve a variety of client circumstances in a variety of environmental settings using a variety of practice skills to intervene at the appropriate system level (Schatz, Jenkins Sheafor 1990).
By literal definition, traditional schools of thought suggest that technological competence includes the capacity to execute a particular task via scientific objectivity (Jones Alcabes, 1989). This simple definition becomes obsolete when applied to Social Work. It fails to consider variation in clients and desired outcomes. Furthermore, when applied to Social Work, technological competence has not been standardized because the tasks may vary in accordance with differing treatment methodologies (O 1999). The tasks of a macro practitioner will differ from those required of a micro practitioner. Thus, it logically follows that traditional assessments of the generalist approach as Social Work technology definitions?are all but impossible to apply unless a single criterion for the evaluation of competence can be specified. The definition of competence, however, should not be assumed altered as different tasks are performed. While the concept of task specificity eludes the idea of a single set of competence criterion, Social Work cannot be regarded as a semi profession for that reason alone. Whereas decision making ability, treatment modality, knowledge base, and so forth are important, none of these as a single criterion reign sufficient given the multiplicity of practice objectives. However, when considered in toto they comprise Social Work generalist approach making necessary the use of EBP.
In an advanced technological society, practice technology is less forthcoming in the absence of technologically based skill. While Social Work has maintained some degree of technical expertise that is the generalist approach it is perceived universally as less rigorous than the so called classic professions (Hall, 2000). That perception is the product of its technology where the generalist approach is less measurable and less amenable to public scrutiny. The performance of the generalist approach may also take place in a less amenable setting, necessitating the need for constant evaluation to assess outcomes. Subsequently, Social Workers seek and require community sanction and at times are admonished for what they do when their work offends the public domain. Such actions are less indicative of bonafide professions. Social Workers who lack practice expertise then encounter public scrutiny in the outcome of unpopular decision making (Rosen, et al., 1995).
As Systems Theory was borrowed from the hard sciences, EBP was borrowed from medical science for application to the social sciences (Sackett, Richardson, Rosenberg, Haynes, 1997; Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes Richardson, 1996). Evidence Based Practiced entails a series of scientific research procedures. It is intended for the application of rigorous expertise to arrive at the most effective intervention based upon objective research findings (Haynes, Devereaux, Guyatt, 2002). It is a deliberate and reasoned process fashioned to bring about resolutions that are commensurate with evidence, ethics, and achievable outcomes. Succinctly put, EBP is distinguished by integration of the best research evidence (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, Haynes, 2000, p. 1). The best research evidence is compiled by relevant and recognized professionals who have the skills and experience to organize unique circumstances and characteristics into a viable strategy. That strategy is intended to serve the client desired outcomes taking into consideration their risks, benefits, personal values and expectations. Scientific objectivity as pertains to the generalist approach will lessen the impact of criticisms. Commensurate with the prescripts of a profession, the proposed EBP will utilize data from a variety of sources (Haynes, et al., 2002). The scientific experts who are consulted will incorporate the unique perspectives and skills available to enable the most relevant and productive situational outcomes. Subsequently EBP will require the accumulation of data and consultation with experts to bring about the most informed and effective methods.
Evidence Based Practice is a de politicized extension of methods that were previously utilized in helping professions, including the aforementioned medical field. As per the de politicization of practice, EBP is herein suggested as an alternative to the accusations of Social Work as a less than bonafide profession. Under the guise of scientific objectivity pointed criticisms of Social Work practice are determined to be contingent upon values, anecdote, and political viability. The intent of EBP is to assist in the de politicization of the generalist approach. De politicization will enable objectivity and the recognition of Social Work as a profession distinguishable from a semi profession by the exactness of its technological expertise. Doing so will accommodate working practitioners and the clients they serve, resolving the issue of practice technology.
The evolution of Social Work toward a more legitimate practice technology can be realized via the prescripts of EBP. Evidence Based Practice is intended to provide a means to further validate Social Work practitioners who are engaged in the conduct of social services. Evidence Based Practice is aligned with the most rigorous scientific evidence available from recognized experts in relevant fields of expertise. In the current and most recent era, Social Work practitioners have been limited in their attempts to serve public interests by the political structures that undermine the viability of their validation as legitimate profession. Thus, EBP is composed ideally of methods for which there is consistent, scientific evidence establishing that practitioner involvement be commensurate with desired outcomes. The current political environment suggests that those who criticize Social Work have not benefited from comprehension of the EBP model.
Unfortunately, the application of the term evidence based has been popularly used in ways that were unintended. In fact, strategies that are described as evidence based are a misuse of the term in that the methods or technologies involved are not (Gambrill, 2003). Social Work practitioners who adhere to EBP must necessarily be scientifically rigorous in their assessment of proposed practice methods. The fact that much of the public has been misled regarding EBP requires its explanation (Straus McAlister, 2000). This will minimize misuse and enable more appropriate comprehension of the concept.
An accurate assessment of Social Work practice reveals as much similarity with the tenets of a profession as differentiation. Historically, Social Work practitioners were trained to apply humanistic values to an understanding of clients, vis the biopsychosocial environment. Simultaneously, the generalist approach to practice as Social Work technology and the length of training varies considerably from one locale to another. There is no specific technology or universal standards for differentiating the skills of Social Work practitioners from those of other helping professionals. Social Work programs exist at differing levels of education and for differing fields of specialization. Despite the fact there are no universal qualification standards required of Social Work professors, student characteristics, college curricula and type of practicum experience best suited to desired educational outcomes (Hokenstad Kendall 2001). What more the United States and Europe have had a major impact upon the direction of Social Work training throughout the world including developing nations. Still, the issue of technology and the generalist approach to practice is one that has been subject to less public scrutiny both at home and abroad.
A number of critics have raised questions about Social Work professional status. Some such as Abraham Flexener (Etzioni, 1969, p. 145) have had little influence on Social Work and others such as Amaiti Etzioni (19