Blurring private-professional boundaries: does it matter? Issues in researching social work students' perceptions about professional regulation

Wiles, Fran (2011). Blurring private-professional boundaries: does it matter? Issues in researching social work students' perceptions about professional regulation. Ethics and Social Welfare, 5(1) pp. 36–51.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17496535.2010.516114

Abstract

Social work students in England now have to register with the General Social Care Council and 'sign up to' the codes of practice. These specify that social workers must not 'behave in a way, in work or outside work, which would call into question [their] suitability to work in social care services'. This paper describes a small and ongoing piece of doctoral research into social work students' perceptions of professional regulation. The policy context for social work regulation is outlined, including the implications for social work educators and students. The paper discusses the ethical and methodological issues which arose when planning the study. In conclusion, regulation has benefits for service users and professionals, but its implementation involves difficult ethical decisions. When students' suitability is called into question, there are implications for their personal and professional identities: exploring these implications will be the focus of the next stage of the research.

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