Professional Standards

Professional Standards

Transplant Social Worker Job Description

View the STSW’s transplant social worker job description.

STSW Core Competencies

The content below describes the STSW Core Competencies as defined by the Council on Social Work Education. The practice behaviors listed are specific to the field of transplant social work.

Competency 1
Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

Social workers serve as representatives of the profession, its mission and its core values. They demonstrate professional commitment by taking responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning, with support through supervision. Social workers:

  • Advocate on behalf of their patients for fair and equitable access to services and demonstrate knowledge of community resources and funding possibilities
  • Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continued professional development
  • Demonstrate ability to work with the multi-disciplinary transplant team in a responsive manner while adhering to professional roles and boundaries
  • Engage in career-long learning and rely on supervision and consultation as adjuncts to ensure the competence of their work

Competency 2
Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.

Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision-making. They are knowledgeable about values of the profession, its ethical standards and relevant law. Social workers:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the NASW Code of Ethics and understanding of how social work ethics pertain to the medical ethics of transplant recipients
  • Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts, recognize and manage personal differences and then apply principles of ethical reasoning to arrive at an impartial and fair decision to determine patient selection for transplantation

Competency 3
Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry and reasonable judgment. Critical thinking skills are enhanced by their creativity and curiosity, requiring the synthesis and communication of relevant information. Social workers:

  • Distinguish and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge
  • Demonstrate ability to conduct a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, specific to determining an individual’s capacity to receive or donate an organ
  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication while interacting with patients, families, groups and colleagues

Competency 4
Engage diversity and difference in practice.

Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are multi-factorial including: race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political beliefs, religion, immigration status and mental or physical disability. Social workers appreciate that as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers:

  • Respect an individual’s self-worth, human rights and dignity
  • Strive to eliminate the effect of biases in their work by never knowingly participating in or condoning discriminatory practices
  • Work with multi-disciplinary team to ensure there are no discriminatory practices

Competency 5
Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Every individual has basic human rights including freedom, safety, privacy, adequate standard of living, access to health care and education. Social work values incorporate social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice. Social workers:

  • Challenge social injustice
  • Strive to ensure full disclosure and equitable access of resources
  • Promote the opportunity for full participation in decision making

Competency 6
Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Social workers use practice experiences to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice, and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery. Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers:

  • Promote and facilitate program and resource development as well as clinical research and publishing
  • Critically examine and keep up to date with emerging trends in transplantation and incorporate evidence based research in their practices

Competency 7
Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life span and the range of social systems in which people live as well as the impact of these social systems on achieving and maintaining health and well-being. Social workers:

  • Integrate both traditional and alternative perspectives for use in global practice, such as promoting projects which encompass problem solving and reflect the unique culture, politics, geography and economy of a region
  • Exercise critical thinking strategies and knowledge to ensure the best possible transplant outcome while reducing the impact of known psychosocial risk factors

Competency 8
Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

Social workers understand that policy affects service delivery and they actively engage in policy practice. Social workers know the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers:

  • Advocate for policies that advance the social well-being of transplant recipients, living donors and donor families
  • Are knowledgeable regarding departmental and hospital policies and procedures and collaborate with colleagues for effective policy action

Competency 9
Respond to contexts that shape practice.

Social workers are informed and resourceful while responding to evolving organizational, community and societal contexts at all levels of practice. They recognize that the context of practice is dynamic and use their knowledge and skills to respond proactively. Social workers:

  • Continuously seek knowledge and understanding of medical and technological developments and emerging social trends to provide relevant services
  • Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services

Competency 10
Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Professional practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation at multiple levels. Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers:

  • Use interpersonal skills to develop a trust-based relationship with patients and families
  • Conduct psychosocial evaluations through information gathering
  • Work with patients, families and multi-disciplinary team to determine appropriate intervention strategies based on mutually agreed upon goals and objectives
  • Analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions, then communicate progress to multi-disciplinary team

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