Core Elements of a Professional Social Work Practice

Abstract

Social workers provide critical service aimed to alleviate social injustice and enhance human well-being in society. This paper evaluates the core elements of a social work professional practice framework, the role of self-care in enhancing social work outcomes and importance of evaluating social work effectiveness. Core elements of social work were noted to be skills, knowledge and values that help the practitioner implement appropriate interventions and overcome barriers towards provision of services. The role of self-care was evident in countering vulnerability to work-related stress that affects performance. Although a precise metric to measure the value of social work is lacking, valuation based on reported and realized preferences may be critical in highlighting the effectiveness of social work in achieving its goals.

Keywords. Social work, social justice, self-care evaluation, social work framework.

Introduction

Social work practices have ranged from those aimed to improve psychological well-being of individuals to those aimed at achieving social justice for marginalized groups. To be able to work effectively under such a wide ranging environment, a professional social worker must have the appropriate knowledge, skills and values. Such capabilities enhance ones decisions when faced with different situations during their service delivery hence form the basis for developing an effective social work practice framework. Unlike other professions where an individual’s personal and professional lives are distinct, in social work such distinction is not present. Accordingly, social workers may become vulnerable to developing work-related stress when aspects such as clients’ needs, organizational characteristics and job workload are overwhelming. Based on such dynamics affecting the practice of social work, this paper reviews the important elements of professional social work practice framework and highlights the importance of self-care in enhancing social work outcomes.

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