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NASW Ethics 8

Here's a series of articles via the NASW, each tackling another ethics issue (in eight bullet points): Ethics 8. Read through and imagine that you're an exam question writer on the hunt for a new question subject. Each one of these articles suggests multiple questions.

Take the timely Coronavirus: Eight Ethical Considerations, which includes this exam-question fodder:

Ensure Privacy for All Electronic Communications and Records

Social workers who elect to communicate electronically with clients should adhere to ethical responsibilities related to Standard 1.07, Privacy and Confidentiality.

The NASW Code of Ethics, Standard 1.07(m), states that "social workers should take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of electronic communications, including information provided to clients or third parties.

Furthermore, "Social workers should use applicable safeguards (such as encryption, firewalls, and passwords) when using electronic communications such as e-mail, online posts online chat sessions, mobile communication, and text messages."

The ethical and other professional standards that apply to in-person communication and documentation also apply when communicating electronically. In addition, it is not uncommon for communications in the form of e-mail and other electronic means to be included in legal and professional review matters.

How would you shape an exam question around this material or using Code of Ethics 1.07?

Maybe something about "reasonable steps." Maybe something about "applicable safeguards." Maybe something more specific. "A social worker is moving to telehealth sessions temporarily. Before using FaceTime for sessions, the social worker should." Fill in the A, B, C, D. The one that says, "Ensure HIPAA compliance of any platform being utilized…" is the correct answer.

Enjoy the site. If you come up with any good practice questions, send them in. Maybe we'll share them here. 

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