SWRK2002 – Assessment 1 Case Study
You are a social worker working in an inpatient mental health unit attached to a hospital in a large
regional centre. You have been in this role for about six months, having previously worked in a
similar position interstate. Your role involves working as part of an interdisciplinary team attached to
the unit that also includes a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, occupational therapist and three
mental health nurses. You also work closely with staff at the local community health service when
planning the discharge and ongoing support of patients/clients.
For the past four weeks you have worked closely with one particular client, Cody, who is a 25 yearold transgender man (who’s pronouns are he/him). Cody was admitted to the unit as an involuntary
patient following a psychotic episode and has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Through your time working with Cody, you have gained some insight into his life – which has been
quite troubled. Cody was a ward of the state from the age of 13 and experienced multiple
placements in out of home care and youth residential facilities. Since leaving care, Cody has
experienced homelessness, transience and considerable instability in his life. These experiences have
had a growing impact on his mental health, leading to two previous hospital admissions in other
locations within the past eighteen months.
Following this most recent hospitalisation, Cody has begun a new medication and treatment regime
and his health has started to stabilise. The team is now being asked to plan for Cody’s discharge and
a meeting has been scheduled. You are aware from recent conversations that both the psychiatrist
and treating Doctor are pushing for an immediate discharge as there is pressure to free up beds in
the unit and both are of the opinion that Cody’s health has stabilised sufficiently for him to be
discharged and for care to be handed over to the community mental health service.
From prior experiences you feel it is likely that others in the team, particularly the psychologist and
mental health nurses, will go along with this decision because they are reluctant to question the
judgement of the doctor and psychiatrist or to challenge the organisation’s practices when it comes
to freeing up beds for new patients. Further to this, your experiences to date have been that
although the team is supposed to function in an interdisciplinary way, in practice the higher-status
members tend to dominate decision making. Compounding this issue, resource constraints have
meant there is insufficient time allocated to team meetings and there has been no shared training
since you commenced your role.
While you recognise the progress that Cody has made since being admitted, you do not think he is
ready for discharge. You are particularly concerned that Cody’s only immediate housing option will
be to return to the boarding house where he was staying prior to his hospitalisation. You know from
your discussions with Cody that he felt very unsafe at the boarding house as nearly all of the
residents are males and there is a lot of drug use and associated antisocial behaviours in the
boarding house itself and the nearby area. While Cody says that he wants to leave, he has expressed
concern that if he goes back to the boarding house he will soon end up back in hospital or worse.
Furthermore, in the past couple of weeks you have been working with Cody’s allocated community
mental health worker to source more appropriate accommodation. At a recent meeting, a worker at
the local community housing provider indicated that a suitable transitional housing property could
become available in about two weeks. In your view, it would be preferable for Cody to remain in the
unit for a couple more weeks and then move into this property.
You now need to prepare for the discharge meeting knowing that your position will most likely
conflict with those of the psychiatrist and doctor, and that other team members may be reluctant to
support you if it means directly challenging the status quo within the team and the hospital more
generally. the first part (Part A – 600 words), you will discuss interdisciplinary practice and the role of social workers in interdisciplinary teams. You will then apply a social work perspective to the case study and discuss how the social worker could respond to the complexities involved.
The second part (Part B – 400 words) requires you to ‘put yourself in the shoes’ of the social worker in the case study and critically reflect on your own teamwork skills. Specifically, you will reflect on your existing teamwork skills and discuss the extent to which these would enable you to manage the complexities in the case study. This will involve reflecting on both your current capacities and areas of strength, as well as skills requiring further development or refinement.
Case Study Response Template
PART A (600 words total)
Discuss your understanding of interdisciplinary practice and the role of social workers in interdisciplinary teams.
Applying your understanding of a ‘social work perspective’ to interdisciplinary practice, discuss how the social worker in the case study could respond to the complexities involved.
PART B (400 words total)
Putting yourself in the shoes of the social worker in the case study, critically reflect on your own existing teamwork sills and discuss how you would draw on these to manage the complexities involved. Note: your reflection should discuss both existing capacities/ strengths, as well skills requiring further development.
REFERENCES- APA 7
Interdisciplinary Practice and the Role of Social Workers
Interdisciplinary practice involves professionals from different disciplines working together to provide comprehensive care for clients (World Health Organization, 2010). Effective interdisciplinary teams value each member’s unique perspective and skills, with open communication and mutual respect between all parties (Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, 2010).
As advocates for clients, social workers play a vital role within interdisciplinary teams. From a strengths-based, person-centered approach, social workers focus on understanding clients’ lived experiences and addressing social determinants of health (National Association of Social Workers, 2017). Within teams, social workers facilitate collaboration, ensure clients’ voices are heard, and consider social and environmental factors beyond clinical issues (Canadian Association of Social Workers, 2018).
Applying a Social Work Perspective
In Cody’s case, the social worker could draw on interpersonal skills to navigate complex dynamics. To advocate for Cody’s readiness and appropriate housing, the social worker might:
Request additional time at the meeting to share insights from working closely with Cody (Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, 2010).
Emphasize Cody’s expressed safety concerns about returning to unstable housing (National Association of Social Workers, 2017).
Propose a two-week extension for the community housing option, balancing clinical and social factors (Canadian Association of Social Workers, 2018).
Suggest an open discussion to understand different viewpoints, build consensus, and ensure Cody’s needs and self-determination are prioritized (World Health Organization, 2010).
Draw on relationship-building and diplomacy skills to engage other team members in problem-solving, while still advocating assertively for Cody (Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, 2010).
Reflecting on My Own Teamwork Skills
As a new social worker, some of my existing strengths include strong active listening and relationship-building abilities, which would help navigate tensions in Cody’s case (Harrison & Fopma-Loy, 2017). I also strive to understand different perspectives and facilitate respectful discussions (Canadian Association of Social Workers, 2018). Areas for development include further practicing assertive communication when advocating for clients and navigating power dynamics within teams (National Association of Social Workers, 2017).
To effectively manage this complex situation, I would need to invest time in building rapport and trust with all team members. I would also benefit from observing experienced colleagues address similar challenges. With experience and supervision and drawing on strengths in empathy and collaboration, I am confident my teamwork skills will continue growing to better meet complex client needs.
Canadian Association of Social Workers. (2018). CASW code of ethics. https://casw-acts.ca/sites/default/files/attachements/CASW_Code%20of%20Ethics.pdf
Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative. (2010). A national interprofessional competency framework. homework help writing assignment service https://www.cihc.ca/files/CIHC_IPCompetencies_Feb1210.pdf
Harrison, G., & Fopma-Loy, J. (2017). Reflective practice for social workers: A practical guide for improving core competencies. Sage.
National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of ethics. https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English
World Health Organization. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. https://www.who.int/hrh/resources/framework_action/en/