Social Work: Discussion 1

 

Social workers make decisions in practice settings based on different sources of knowledge, including their intuition, personal experiences, tradition, authority, and theories and research evidence. These sources of knowledge can be used together to contribute to decisions. Which source(s) of knowledge do you rely on? What are the strengths and limitations of each source of knowledge, and how will they affect your social work practice? For example, think about the sources of knowledge you used when you made decisions in your field experience. In this Discussion, you consider the sources of knowledge that inform your practice decisions.

To prepare: Complete the “Situations 1 and 2: Making Decisions About Interventions” handout. (Note: You do not need to upload the handout to the Discussion forum. The handout is intended to assist you in writing your Discussion post.)

By Day 4

  • Explain how and why your choices differed in Situations 1 and 2. 
  • Evaluate when using intuition or personal experiences is advantageous in making clinical decisions. Provide an illustration of this from your fieldwork experience.  (Field Work Experience: Northeast  Regional AIDS Network — • Conducted mental health assessments.
    • Assisted with budget issues of clients that struggled financially.
    • Provided supportive services such as counseling and health services to clients with special needs.
     I helped clients who suffered from HIV/AIDS find affordable housing in their area and if they fall on hard times, I would find different resources in their community to help assist with rent.)
  • Analyze when using theories and research evidence is advantageous in making clinical decisions. Provide an illustration of this from your fieldwork experience.

Situations 1 and 2: Making Decisions About Interventions*

Situation 1

Think back to a client (individual, family, group, agency, or community) with whom you have worked. Place a check mark next to each criterion you used to make your practice decision. If you have not yet worked with a client, think of the criteria on which you would probably rely. 

____1.​Your intuition (gut feeling) about what will be effective

____2.​What you have heard from other professionals in informal exchanges

____3.​Your experience with a few cases

____4.​Your demonstrated track record of success based on data you have gathered systematically and regularly

____5.​What fits your personal style

____6.​What was usually offered at your agency

____7.​Self-reports of other clients about what was helpful

____8.​Results of controlled experimental studies (data that show a method is helpful)

____9.​What you are most familiar with

____10.​What you know by critically reading professional literature 

Situation 2

Imagine you have a potentially serious medical problem and you seek help from a physician to examine treatment options. Place a check mark next to each criterion you would like your physician to rely on when he or she makes recommendations about your treatment.

____1.​The physician’s intuition (gut feeling) that a method will work

____2.​What he or she has heard from other physicians in informal exchanges

____3.​The physician’s experience with a few cases

____4.​The physician’s demonstrated track record of success based on data he or she has gathered systematically and regularly

____5.​What fits his or her personal style

____6.​What is usually offered at the clinic

____7.​Self-reports of patients about what was helpful

____8.​Results of controlled experimental studies (data that show a method is helpful)

____9.​What the physician is most familiar with

____10.​What the physician has learned by critically reading professional literature 

*From Gambrill, E., & Gibbs, L. (2017). Making decisions about intervention. In Critical thinking for helping professionals: A skills-based workbook (4th ed., pp. 69–70). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

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