Social Work Literature Review

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Literature Review INTRODUCTION It is of paramount consideration that social workers are conscious of, aware and sensitive to the cultural demands of their clientele. This is because culture is a pivotal factor upon which a great deal of conduct, norms, social connections and mindsets of clients revolve. For social workers there is need to understand and appreciate how cultural traditions influence relationships with a diverse panorama of client needs and demands. This literature review seeks to create a foundation regarding the facts stated above through filtering and analysis of relevant and interesting research studies and works by previous authors. This review of literature focuses on how social workers develop or maintain cultural competence following graduation from Masters of Social Work Program. It aimed at providing answers for further research regarding how social workers maintain cultural competence post graduation. In addition, this literature review seeks to consider that social workers are not enhancing their cultural awareness post graduation as mandated by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics. DEFINITION OF CULTURAL COMPETENCE There are many definitions of the term cultural competence. Davidhizar et al, (1998) defines it as the process of developing awareness about one’s own thoughts, feelings and the environment without allowing influence from the background of others. Another definition of cultural competence is the ability to have adequate understanding and knowledge of client’s culture. Yet another definition describes it as the process of recognizing, accepting and respecting cultural differences. These definitions are universal and provide definitions of cultural competence in all dimensions of life. In the context of social work, cultural competence is defined as the ability of social workers to carry out their duties in a manner consistent with the expectations of cultural groups they serve. Goldberg (2000) asserts that cultural competence is not an ultimate goal that organizations should strive to achieve but rather it is a continuous process that should progressively grow over time. Experiences during practice should enable social workers to identify strengths and vulnerabilities that will enable them to develop into culturally competent professionals. ACADEMIC CURRICULUM Despite integration of comprehensive cultural studies into the academic curriculum, a gap still exists in the response to the problem and needs of the ever-growing culturally diverse community.
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