Raymond Gonzales wins the NASW Code of Ethics 55th Anniversary Essay Contest

Mar 25, 2016

code of ethics, national association of social workers

We are pleased to announce the winner of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics 55th Anniversary Essay Contest is Raymond Gonzales.

Raymond will receive a selection of Social Work Month merchandise, an award trophy, a 55th Anniversary commemorative edition of the Code of Ethics.

Here is his winning entry:

Code of Ethics has enabled me to respect each individual and be mindful of differences

By Raymond Gonzales

Raymond Gonzales

Raymond Gonzales

Growing up in a traditional Latino household, my mother would always tell me two things in Spanish every night.  First, she would say she loved me.  Second, she would also tell me to remember to help someone tomorrow no matter how I felt about them.  It was her ethical guidance that led me to become a social worker today.  If it was the classroom bully or the kid being bullied, I tried to help in any manner.  My core set of values developed from my mother’s simple bedtime phrase and it was just the start of my social work endeavors.

The Code of Ethics is something embedded in my head that helps influence my behavior when working with clients and families.   I critically think about ways to address social problems and act on them to create a better outcome.  Whether it is lobbying on Capitol Hill for patient’s rights or promoting sensitivity to current immigration legislation, I am using the Code of Ethics to challenge social injustice.  I create open spaces for people to talk about what is on their mind and how to come to a resolution.

Becoming a social worker and using the Code of Ethics daily helps me recognize what matters in the lives of my patients and families.

If each client and family were the same with similar needs to be addressed, my job would be easy.  As every social worker knows, this is not the case.  The Code of Ethics has enabled me respect each individual and be mindful of their differences.   If a patient wants to pursue treatment for an aggressive end-stage cancer, I will be there for them to process their thoughts and wishes.  On the other hand, if my patient is done with treatment and wants to just live their final months happy with their family at home, they can count on me to guide them.

Becoming a social worker and using the Code of Ethics daily helps me recognize what matters in the lives of my patients and families.  It is the relationships built that fosters their overall well-being. More importantly, it is my awareness that being honest to everyone involved instills trust.  By being trustworthy, my patients and clients know they can rely on me for small problems or huge dilemmas that can hinder their progress.  As I enhance my competence in medical social work, I can reflect back realizing the code of the ethics has made a positive influence on my career.

About the Author

Raymond Gonzales is a medical social work intern at Hope Hospice in Dublin, California. He is finishing his last semester at the University of Southern California, graduating in May with a master’s in social work.  When he is not studying, writing papers or working on a busy Medical-Surgical Nursing unit, Raymond likes to practice self-care by running marathons, traveling the world and eating tacos.

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