The Social Worker Ms. Jenkins in Vignette-Nina, discussion help

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Social workers have to identify ethical boundaries every day. The Social Worker Ms. Jenkins in Vignette-Nina has to use her professional aptitude and remember the ethical boundaries to determine Nina’s needs, that is where the NASW Code of Ethics help. The NASW Code of Ethics (2008) states that social workers have four core values to live by. These values are service, dignity and worth of the person, integrity and competence.

  Social workers use these core values to form an ethical principal to help others, specifically their clients. The social worker Ms. Jenkins must remember her ethical principal in order to help her client Nina. Ms. Jenkins can help Nina in many ways, but there are important ethical dilemmas presented in the scenario. Ms. Jenkins has very limited skills with mental health and sparse resources. Ms. Jenkins does not speak Q’eqchi and there are no interpreter nearby to help Nina communicate her concerns and needs.  Ms. Jenkins most logical first step is to seek out an interpreter to help with communication, but doing so will possibly violate Nina’s trust and confidentiality.  The Social Worker main concern should be “protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of the professional service” (NASW Code of Ethics, Section 10.7.c). The translator will obtain all of Nina’s confidential information. Nina may also feel uncomfortable communicating with the translator, which is opposite of the first NASW principles of promoting the well-being of clients (NASW Code of Ethics , Section 1.01).  

  Through visual observation Ms. Jenkins can see that Nina’s grades and sleep are suffering, but she may not see the reason behind those actions. Could it be the social political context stated in the Vignette-Nina? The Vignette-Nina states that many girls who were unaccompanied like Nina “have been exposed to sexual violence in their home countries and in their travel to the border”. For Ms. Jenkins to truly understand Nina’s motives Ms. Jenkins may need to refer back to the previous social worker who helped Nina before. Ms. Jenkins will gain more insight if the previous social worker was able to disclose all past pertinent information, with Nina’s consent, to Ms. Jenkins. This brings up one important ethical query. Ms. Jenkins does not know if the previous social worker followed the NASW Principles that a social worker should take reasonable steps to enhance such clients’ ability to give informed consent (NASW Section 1.03.c). If reasonable steps were given for consent then the previous social worker should have followed the NASW principles of forwarding pertinent information or any timely documents to help Nina when she moved (NASW Section 2.06.a.b). The previous social worker should have also assisted Nina in making appropriate arrangements for continuation of services (NASW 11.6.b).

  Nina might feel abandoned, because the previous social worker didn’t adequately provide the provision for case transfer or have an appropriate continuation of service. This is one of the most common ethical violation that Strom-Gottfried (1999, 2003) found.  If Ms. Jenkins adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics then Nina’s well-being will improve with time.  


Cournoyer, Barry R. (2014). The Social Work Skills Workbook (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole


As the Ethic Model is reviewed in this scenario, language can be a barrier in some instance, howeverthis is not the case for Nina, because she speaks English she is able to articulate what Ms.Jenkin’s role in her life. Aspreviously stated in my last post, Nina does have some major barriers she must overcome, such as is she a victim of any form of abuse? (sexual, emotional, or physical). Nina’s cultural background may prevent her from discussion this type of information with Ms. Jenkins. Therefore creating a ethical dilemma. Being that most Mayan household religious beliefs are Catholic and the men serve as the head of the household (Schuster,1997), Nina may not feel comfortable going against her beliefs. Therefore creating a difficult challenge for Ms.Jenkins

 As the Ethic Model of Decision Making( Cournoyer, 2014) discuss Ms. Jenkins would have to come up with a solution to address the issues. But with limited resources and funding from the school system, Ms.Jenkins would  not have the necessary resources to provide the intense services Nina would need to address the issue of abuse and failing grades. Therefore, Nina situation would fit Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, because  her physiological or safety needs are not being met(Cournoyer,2014)


Cournoyer, B. R. (2014). Ethical decision making. M. Kerr, S. Dobrin, & N. Dreyer (Eds.), The social work skills workbook 7th ed. (pp.133-165). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Schuster,A. (1997). Ritual of the Modern Maya. Vol 50 N0 4


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