Complete Two Medical Social Work Discussions (WALDEN).
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Religion and spirituality are complex constructs that have the capacity to influence patients’ illnesses, courses of treatment, and experiences. Medical social workers may feel unsure of how to address patients’ religious beliefs. Despite knowledge about the benefits of medications and treatment in illness management, social workers may hear patient comments such as, “I don’t need medicine. God is going to heal me.” In situations of conflicting ideas, it is important for medical social workers to consider the standards and tenets that govern the profession. Medical social workers must listen, not judge, and promote a patient’s self-determination. In addition, they must accept that they may not be able to address a patient’s religious or spiritual needs and call upon colleagues such as pastors, priests, imams, and rabbis who are more qualified in these areas.
To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Focus on the religious and spiritual standards set by the National Association of Social Workers. Then, consider your own religious and spiritual bias and worldviews. Think how these might influence your effectiveness as a medical social worker.
By Day 3
Post an explanation of the impact religion or spirituality can have on patients’ perceptions of health and health outcomes. Then, explain how religion and spirituality might influence patients’ experiences of illness, healing, resilience, and death. Explain the potential impact of your personal views about religion or spirituality on providing services to a patient. Finally, explain ways you might improve your understanding of your patients’ views about religion and spirituality. Justify your response by citing scholarly resources. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your points.
Health, illness, and disease mean different things to members of different cultural groups. When viewed in a cultural context, these experiences can have significant ramifications for individual patients and, at times, communities as a whole. It can be helpful for medical social workers to examine the cultural factors that influence a patient’s perception of disease, illness, treatment, caregiving, and death. Doing so can provide insight into a patient’s behavior or thinking during the course of his or her illness.
When viewing a patient’s situation in a cultural context, medical social workers must consider the patient’s level of assimilation. For example, a recent Latino immigrant may be skeptical of Western medicine and want to rely on a more culturally sanctioned folk or holistic model of treatment. On the other hand, a second generation Latino-American may wholeheartedly endorse Western treatments and know less about his or her culture’s traditional point of view. In addition, medical social workers may encounter ethical dilemmas resulting from culture-based misunderstandings. Given the profession’s values and ethical standards, medical social workers must analyze and evaluate these dilemmas with careful consideration to cultural context in addition to other relevant information.
To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources including the assigned case study. Then, consider the NASW Code of Ethics and Diversity & Cultural Competence statements. Think about your personal multicultural awareness, cultural tolerance, and cultural competence.
By Day 4
Post a description of the cultural factors that you might consider in providing service to the individual and family described in the case. Explain the course of action a medical social worker should take to address the cultural issues illustrated in the case. Be sure to support your statement by referring to the National Association of Social Workers standards or recommendations. Explain two cultural factors that might challenge you when working with a patient and his or her family who belong to a different culture than yours. Explain measures you might consider to enhance your cultural competence.