Addressing Intolerance By Empowering Integrity and Worth of Each Personby Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP on 06/03/20
My initial intent for this latest blog was to embrace a theme of tolerance and acceptance in recognition of the annual PRIDE celebration. Commitment to the human condition and respect for each person have been enduring values embraced through my life and career. However, the recent COVID-19 pandemic amid an ongoing backdrop of societal injustice, intolerance, and racial inequity have been a graphic reminder of how fragile these values can be.
As a child I was taught to treat others as I wished to be treated, and without exception: independent of race, creed, ethnicity, religion, cultural orientation, gender identity or any other perceived difference. As I advanced from academic degree to professional social worker, these practice principles became further embedded through licensure regulations and ethical codes, nourishing my professional identity. The core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence were applied to every dimension of my practice.
I then became board-certified as a case manager (CCM), accountable to a Code of Professional Conduct, with distinct standards, rules, procedures and penalties. By this point in my career the mantra was consistent, there were assorted industry established resources of guidance to which I was beholden (e.g., licensure regulations, codes, professional standards) that were all aligned. In addition, these resource served a powerful dual purpose: to protect the public interest while assuring clear standards of practice for the requisite professional workforce. All of these resources reinforced the importance for professionals to respect client autonomy, rights, and inherent dignity; maintain objectivity in their work; plus act with integrity and fidelity with all clients and other persons. I also remember thinking that after a decade in the healthcare industry, these principles should be common sense to industry professionals.
Every conversation I have engaged in this week has involved the intense emotions we are all feeling. The shared trauma experienced by practitioners and patients (or clinicians and clients) as a result of the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on workforce mental health. These responses have only been eclipsed by vivid images of racism, violence, and intolerance. As human beings first and foremost, we feel and emote in response to what we experience.
The seminal resources that underlie our varied professional disciplines are more valuable than ever, grounding and guiding all actions of the workforce. Despite differences in personal and professional perspectives there should be common beliefs in the:
· ability to agree to disagree,
· treatment of all clients/patients and their support systems with integrity and respect,
· awareness of, and attention to implicit biases,
· common respect for humanity and the human condition, and
· that licensed professionals are held to the highest standards.
There will always be some circumstances to challenge our personal and professional identity. We may not have control how these circumstances play out, but are in control of our responses. How we integrate what we learn from these events to inform and guide those personal and professional perspectives is up to us.
Until next time.......Stay Safe, Sane, and Resilient
#Healthequity #socialjustice #interprofessionalimpact #socialdistancing