NASW Technology Standards: How Do You Measure Up?

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One thing that students and current working social workers are familiar with is the NASW, which has a huge influence over most of the standards set for social work practice and education.  They also have some clearly defined standards for technology as outlined in the NASW’s Code of Ethics.

The standards cover a wide variety of topics, and I know that my education as a social worker did not address more than a minimum number of the standards. As discussed in an earlier article by Deona Hooper, Social Work and Technology: Fails in Teaching Students Technology, even though in 2005 it was directly laid out that we should by the NASW!

Lets take a look at what the NASW’s standards are and we can see how we measure up:
I will be scoring myself on a 1-5 scale you should too!

Ethics: 4/5

“Social workers providing services via the telephone or other electronic means shall act ethically, ensure professional competence, protect clients, and uphold the values of the profession.”

Technology adds an entirely new dimension to the ethical standards social worker’s have to abide by. Not only do you have to know what can  and cannot be shared via communication on telephone and email. Technology has a way of blurring lines that are otherwise clear. If someone texts you something are  you still mandated to report that or is that something you keep private? What about if you hear something in the background of a Skype conversation?

Privacy: 4/5

“Social workers shall protect client privacy when using technology in their practice and document all services,taking special safeguards to protect client information in the electronic record.”

Do you know about HIPAA regulations? Do know about the many ways client confidentiality can be compromised in electronic means? More importantly do you know what you might be held liable for? To compound  the issue  most social workers need to know about how to maintain client privacy when using nonstandard means of communication. This is particularly relevant when looking at the recent development of teletherapy (therapy via video conferencing). Worse, what happens if you store your clients information on a personal computer and it gets lost?

Let me know in the comments section if you have ever had questions about client confidentiality and privacy related to technology!

Access: 3/5

 “Social workers shall have access to technology and appropriate support systems to ensure competent practice, and shall take action to ensure client access to technology.”

The NASW acknowledges that we work in organizations that often have obsolete software and equipment and they clearly state we should advocate for both ourselves and our clients when it comes to access to technology, something I agree with. Good job NASW! Do you have access to “appropriate technology”? Do you know what the technology you might need is? Let alone the technology that your clients might need. This is a gap in education for social workers that needs to addressed by schools across the country.

If you know of any schools that have classes that address technology and social work let me know in  the comment below!

Proficiency: 3/5

“Social workers shall be responsible for becoming proficient in the technological skills and tools required for competent and ethical practice and for seeking appropriate training and consultation to stay current with emerging technologies.”

This is where you can check where you measure up, do you know how to use the technology in your workplace? Does your workplace offer training in that technology so that you can better help your clients? What should social work programs offer in the way of technology?

Let me know in the comments below what you wish your social work program had taught you about using technology to help your clients!

Final Score: 14/20

Ouch  70%!  It is pretty obvious that this is an issue that still needs to be address, for right now you can keep visiting Social Work Helper to educate yourself about technology until social work education gets its act together!

And don’t forget to let me know your final score in the comments below!

4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Using the Internet to Find a Job!

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Many of you reading this may be recent or soon to be graduates, and/or  you have been looking at the job market with abject terror. You might feel somewhat akin to how a deer must feel as they are staring at an oncoming car. You know that you need to find a job, but you also can’t seem to make any moves to do so. Well don’t let opportunity pass you by! Don’t fall into these technology pitfalls that can make finding a job even harder!

1. Searching websites like Idealist, Indeed, Craigslist

Yes, those websites are great, but they also create several problems:

  • They encourage you to apply for job with companies that you don’t know about. Which is fine, but you are far more likely to get a job with a company that you know and love.
  • Everyone else is seeing these same jobs, which means you have to stand out in an even bigger crowd
  • These websites can be outdated, there is no guarantee that you applying for a job that even exists!

Solution: Find organizations you know and love! Look for jobs on their website, even better call their HR department. Yes, they might just tell you to look at the website, but you have made an impression that you want the job. The person is even more likely to remember your name. You may also hear about a job before it is posted!

2. Not having a complete Linkedin profile

Good job, you made yourself a Linkedin! Oh, you didn’t complete the whole thing. I guess that is fine, I am sure the person hiring you for your dream job will fill in the blanks though it might not be with what you should expect.

If you are going to have a Linkedin you need to complete it and continue to update it.

  • A post once a week is good, once a month as a minimum.
  • You never really know who is going to look at your profile. You might be missing out on any number of opportunities.

Solution: Complete your Linkedin profile, for those who are not tech savvy and are having a hard time there are many guides out there, call a friend and you can even email me and I will look at your profile and give you some free advice!

3. Mixing Work and Play

  • I am all for people using their computers for fun! By all means have a Pinterest about your favorite band, cat pictures etc. Use your twitter to talk about the latest celebrity idiocy, but please, oh please….
  • Have separate accounts! The last thing you want an employer to see is your drunken, misspelled political rant on twitter.

Solution: Use an Alias for your personal accounts, or just your first name! Make sure they are not linked to the same email address. Setting things to private is not adequate, as nothing is really private on the internet.

4. Not promoting yourself

Again, we live in an age where you never know who might be looking at your online profile!

  • Put your best face on!
  • Make sure your contact information is up to date and most of all promote yourself. It is ok to shamelessly ask your friends to share, retweet, and pin your posts because you will do the same for them.
  • The point of this whole social media world is to have as many people as possible see your best face.

Solution: Share, share, share: make sure you post once a week at least and share it. If you are in a resume pool and the hiring manager has read your blog and loved it you are going to have a huge advantage over someone they have never heard of before!

Now, you know technology can help you find a job, but it can also hinder you.  Make sure you are using it right and remember nothing beats good old fashion legwork!

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