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Part B: Critical Reflection

Being a social work practitioner in the following role-play scenario allowed me to discuss my research project with a Senior Manager in a professional manner. It also gave me a platform to use various skills which I developed as a part of my social work training, referring to relevant literature related to social work in an attempt to advocate for the inclusion of the voice of the service users in the research design.

Skills Developed

The first skill required during the role-play was effective communication which involved active listening and clear articulation of perspectives from my end. It was essential that the concerns related to the research design get conveyed along with the acknowledgement of the existing limitations. Advocacy was the second skill that played a vital role during the interaction as it helped me to exhibit the commitment I had towards client-centred care and ethical practices through the inclusion of the voices of service users. A constant emphasis accompanied this on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the improvement in service delivery. The following skill, which was consistent throughout the role-play, was negotiation which was necessary to achieve a balance between overwhelming resources and client feedback. This demanded the use of collaborative problem-solving. The last skill I demonstrated was critical thinking which involved analysing the implications of various research design alternatives, taking into account both pros and cons. I used my knowledge of social work literature to support my arguments and decision-making.

Guiding Principles

The first and foremost principle that drove my decision-making was the principle of client-centred care, which also led me to advocate for the voices of service users. It was crucial to prioritise the preferences, needs and experiences of the children and their families and consider them the centre of the research process. This would help in ensuring that the services are provided in a way that meets the unique needs of the clients (Yun & Choi, 2019). The second essential principle that played a significant role in my decision to promote the well-being of clients was ethical practice. This also guided me in prioritising the feedback and autonomy of the clients. The next one was the principle of inclusion and diversity which is essential in any research design which involves a representative sample. This helps in making sure that a wide range of perspectives is considered from a wide range of users belonging to different needs, experiences and backgrounds (Mitchell et al., 2020).

Another principle that played a vital role in strengthening my argument in the discussion regarding the research design and the funding, was the principle of collaboration and participation, which emphasised the inclusion of a multidisciplinary team. This would lead to the involvement of professionals from various areas enabling a more holistic understanding of the client behaviour and amplifying the authenticity of the results (Folkman et al., 2019). Lastly, the principles of continuous improvement and resource management enabled me to focus on both the positive and negative aspects and identify areas that need to be focused on or have room for improvement in order to work towards the enhancement of the organisational services (Stewart & Brown, 2019). Furthermore, it also enabled me to look for methods that were cost-effective, keeping in mind the constraints associated with the time and budget.

Theories

The first theory that came into play was the systems theory which gives importance to the interconnected nature of different elements existing in a system (Kern et al., 2020). In the role-play, I took into account the entire organisational system, which comprised service users, other professionals and practitioners. I acknowledged that changing any one part of the system, in this case, the research design would have an impact on the other elements. This helped me in developing an approach that is balanced that involves the needs and perspectives of all stakeholders. The second theory was the strength-based perspective which prioritises highlighting and focusing on the strengths of an individual instead of concentrating on their deficits or shortcomings (Fortune, 2018). Drawing on this helped me to advocate for the inclusion of service users and highlight the resilience and strength exhibited by the children and their families.

The third theory was the person-centred approach which aims at understanding individuals by focusing on their own perspectives and experiences (Heggdal et al., 2021). I used this approach to gain a deeper understanding of their unique challenges and backgrounds and advocate their inclusion in the decision-making process. The last and final theory was participatory action research (PAR), an approach that encourages researchers and participants to actively participate and indulge in collaboration (Bennett, 2019). In the role-play, I tried to incorporate PAR by emphasising the involvement of a multidisciplinary team and using interviews and focus groups to seek direct client feedback. This also aimed at developing an inclusive, participatory, and transformative research process.

Ethical Dilemmas

The primary ethical dilemma in this scenario was maintaining a balance between the inclusion of client autonomy and the constraints faced by the organisation with respect to budget and time. In addition to this, it was also important to realise that although advocacy for direct client feedback is necessary to ensure ethical research and client-centred care, having a realistic approach regarding limitations associated with resources and deadlines is also essential (Curran, 2021). The second dilemma was the issue of confidentiality and anonymity, which needs to be taken care of with respect to online surveys and interviews. This is crucial as ethical concerns may arise when collecting relevant data without compromising the privacy of patient data (Price & Cohen, 2019).

The third ethical dilemma was the possibility of negative feedback, which might shed light upon challenges or unpleasant experiences experienced by the clients. This might turn out to be a dilemma with respect to the handling of negative feedback and parallelly safeguarding the organisational reputation and the chances of securing funding. The next dilemma in line was the representativeness in relation to the sample, which involved decisions related to the inclusion of individuals and ensuring adequate representation of diversity in the chosen sample (Mertens, 2019). Another major dilemma was the possibility of conflict between different ethical obligations and the responsibility of a social worker to ensure that all the obligations are fulfilled. Lastly, the final ethical dilemma in this scenario was related to the reliability and validity of data, wherein ensuring the credibility of the findings becomes as essential as the authenticity of shared experiences.

Evaluation of Practice Skills

Mediation

Mediation can be defined as the facilitation of a dialogue that exists between two or more conflicting entities and is constructive and collaborative, and reaching a solution that is mutually agreeable (Kimani & Scott, 2023). Throughout the role play, I used my mediation skills in various ways, which helped me navigate my conversation with the Senior Manager. Firstly, I ensured that I maintained a demeanour that was respectful and calm and led to a conducive atmosphere enabling open communication between me and the Senior Manager. Secondly, I exhibited active listening to address the concerns raised by the Senior Manager, thus letting her express her perspective and give necessary inputs. Lastly, I aimed to seek common ground instead of just highlighting the differences which existed between the feedback of the client and the insights of the practitioner.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution focuses on the management of differences in opinions between individuals and groups to provide solutions that are acceptable to all parties involved (Kimani & Scott, 2023). The first conflict resolution skill that I demonstrated was the identification of core issues that could contribute to ethical dilemmas, such as the inclusion of feedback from the client along with the management of time and budget-related constraints. Secondly, my approach of involving the Senior Manager in the discussion and exploration of research design alternatives prevented any kind of imposition or dismissal of viewpoints, thus encouraging an approach of collaborative problem-solving.

Advocacy

Advocacy comprises raising a voice in favour or against the interests and rights of individuals or groups to bring about a positive change (Boshoff et al., 2018). In the role-play scenario, I put across my arguments with a tone of passion and conviction with an emphasis on the inclusion of the viewpoints of the service users. My communication style also showcased my dedication towards ethical obligations and client-centred care. Secondly, there was a distinct articulation of the relation shared by advocacy for direct client feedback and the commitment of the organisation towards an ethical form of social work. Lastly, there was a balanced approach keeping in mind both the pros and cons of the research design, weighing aspects such as client autonomy and data validation.

 Effective Decision-Making

In terms of effective decision-making, I employed various aspects of the same in the role-play scenario. For instance, with respect to the process of decision-making, I tried to strike a balance between ethical obligations, client autonomy and organisational constraints. Secondly, the decision-making involved a collaborative approach taking into consideration both my perspectives and the opinions of the Senior Manager. Lastly, I used critical analysis with respect to design alternatives, their involvement and possible results generated by each design.

References

Bennett, M. (2019). A Review of the Literature on the Benefits and Drawbacks of Participatory Action Research 1. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 14(1), 109-122. https://doi.org/10.7202/1071290arCopiedAn error has occurred

Boshoff, K., Gibbs, D., Phillips, R. L., Wiles, L., & Porter, L. (2018). Parents' voices:“Our process of advocating for our child with autism.” A meta‐synthesis of parents' perspectives. Child: Care, Health and Development, 44(1), 147-160.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12504

Curran, L. (2021). Better law for a better world: New approaches to law practice and education. Routledge. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GcMfEAAAQBAJ

Folkman, A. K., Tveit, B., & Sverdrup, S. (2019). Leadership in interprofessional collaboration in health care. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 97-107. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.2147/JMDH.S189199

Fortune, C. A. (2018). The Good Lives Model: A strength-based approach for youth offenders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 38, 21-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2017.11.003

Heggdal, K., Mendelsohn, J. B., Stepanian, N., Oftedal, B. F., & Larsen, M. H. (2021). Health‐care professionals’ assessment of a person‐centred intervention to empower self‐management and health across chronic illness: Qualitative findings from a process evaluation study. Health Expectations, 24(4), 1367-1377.  https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13271

Kern, M. L., Williams, P., Spong, C., Colla, R., Sharma, K., Downie, A., & Oades, L. G. (2020). Systems informed positive psychology. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(6), 705-715. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2019.1639799

Kimani, C. J., & Scott, J. (2023). Conflict Resolution Training-Professional Level. Finstock Evarsity Publishers. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=HRHLEAAAQBAJ

Mertens, D. M. (2019). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Sage publications. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6RR7DwAAQBAJ

Mitchell, M., Baker, D., Moorosi, N., Denton, E., Hutchinson, B., Hanna, A., & Morgenstern, J. (2020, February). Diversity and inclusion metrics in subset selection. In Proceedings of the AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (pp. 117-123). https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3375627.3375832

Price, W. N., & Cohen, I. G. (2019). Privacy in the age of medical big data. Nature Medicine, 25(1), 37-43. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-018-0272-7

Stewart, G. L., & Brown, K. G. (2019). Human resource management. John Wiley & Sons. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=53eYDwAAQBAJ

Yun, D., & Choi, J. (2019). Person-centered rehabilitation care and outcomes: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 93, 74-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2019.02.012         

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