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Ethical dilemmas occur in all areas of social work practice, including in military social work. At times, social workers practicing in a military setting may face especially complex ethical challenges in honoring the NASW Code of Ethics while also obeying military orders or policies.

For example, as a social worker, one is required to follow the NASW Code of Ethics, even on behalf of the enemy. At the same time, the social worker, as a service member, is obligated to support the mission and military operations and maintain military readiness. In this Discussion, you explore ethical dilemmas that may challenge you in a military environment.

To prepare for this Discussion, read the Learning Resources about ethical dilemmas faced by social workers within the military system and the NASW standards.

Post a response in which you do the following:  (2 to 3 pages only)

  • Identify two areas of practice within the military system that have a potential for an ethical dilemma.
  • Describe how the areas of practice relate to the identified NASW standards.
  • Describe how the NASW standards might apply to an ethical dilemma.

Required Readings

Rubin, A., Weiss, E. L., & Coll, J. E. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of military social work. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Chapter 4, “Ethical Decision Making in Military Social Work” (pp. 51–66)

Association of Social Workers. (2012). NASW standards for social work practice with service members, veterans, and their families. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=fg817fIDop0%3d&portalid=0 

National Association of Social Workers. (2018). NASW Practice Standards & Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/practice-standards-guidelines

Walden University. (n.d.). MSW interactive home page [Multimedia]