One can recognize competence in other social workers and demonstrate his or her own social work competence by adhering to a set of professional social work criteria. From the assigned readings, several social work criteria are evident. These are providing empirically supported treatments and working by the principles of evidence-based practice, adhering to a professional code of ethics, maintaining psychological wellbeing, and demonstrating leadership strong skills.
First, using evidence-based practice or delivering empirically supported treatments is the most important criterion to use, because it determines the level of a social worker”s professional competence. Following the principles of evidence-based practice ensures that the client receives the best available treatment within practice and has his or her values, culture, and preferences taken into account. For example, the aid provided by a social worker who uses the empirically supported approach will include the following steps: posing a question, searching for the best empirically validated evidence to answer it, critically appraise all evidence that was found, integrate the best evidence with one”s own expertise and client”s values and preferences, and evaluate the outcomes of the decision.
Next, adhering to a professional code of ethics is important because it helps to ensure that the social worker does not enter a dual relationship with the client and acts wisely in various situations. The examples of situations when it is possible to enter a dual relationship are church attendance, visit to a bar or a grocery store. Maintaining psychological wellbeing is another criterion. It, for example, involves having nice pastimes that help prevent burnout: traveling and rewarding friendships. Finally, developing strong leadership skills is crucial. This, for example, includes keeping your team of social workers motivated and in the know, and continuously upgrade.
These four criteria ” working by evidence-based principles, adhering to the code of ethics, maintaining psychological wellbeing, and growing as a leader ” are essential markers of a competent social worker. The validity of these criteria has been justified by examples.