So whats this got to do with social work ? Well a conversation this week focused on social workers perception of professionalism and a view that it had become very skewed. Something that I've observed certainly in my travels across the country and at all levels of hierarchy and experience.
So who do social workers look to help them develop their understanding of professionalism?
How explicit are we about expectations ?
Has our understanding of professionalism stayed pace and allowed for changes in our behaviour with the increased use of technology ?
The use of email, text etc has led to increased informality of communication. That's not necessarily a negative, but does that make it harder for service users to understand boundaries ?
My personal view is that as managers , and as peers we need to talk in positive ways when we see an interaction that makes us uncomfortable. We need to help new starters recognise and demonstrate professionalism in the way they interact and communicate and that means we need to be role models.
Whilst I hate the idea of guidance etc, I am led to thinking perhaps we do need something out , because i do see a lot of confusion and this is not good for service users.
I should be in clear saying that this is not an issue specific to social work , but one i see across all groups - but this is where we as social workers should be leading.
As ever feel free to disagree with what is clearly my own personal view
Vijay Patel, Associate
22nd January 2016