Sunday, July 6, 2008

ethics part one

I think I've mentioned this before. I work and volunteer in the same area of town with the same population. I always knew it would be a challenge, but now it's getting really confusing. Maybe it's a horrible idea, but I'm just not sure I can give up my volunteer work.

Today's case study. I recently dealt with my first seizure at work. People seize all the time. They're coming off and on a bazillion different drugs (both prescription and non) and many of them do have seizure disorders. I will see this a lot, it just so happened that this was the first time. The guy had two five minute long seizures. That's a lot, and long. Anyway, a family member of his was watching, saw the whole thing and was upset. I didn't have long to talk to her, because I was going out on van patrol and had to document and do other stuff. I made sure she was okay, told her she could come talk to us, but really, didn't have a lot of time for her... and I felt bad.

Of course I tell my best friend about my experience. I need to debrief the situation cause the paramedics were kind of cruel and there was a lot of intensity to the situation. The people in the shelter are sort of like a family in many cases.

Then comes street ministry. I have an opportunity to sit down and have a long chat with this family member. A much more in-depth one then I had the chance to at work. It's a great conversation.

Now, here's the ethical part. My best friend is also a team leader at Street Ministry. We generally tell each other - and the rest of the team in debrief - most of what the clients say. We keep each other updated etc... So, I tell her about our conversation. It's only natural. Then PHIA comes up, and the privacy act. I mean, she talked about it on our street ministry property, but I witnessed it on work property. See how it starts to get confusing? It's not like I told my friend the name of the person who had the seizure, she doesn't even know the last name of the women I was talking to. And the fact of the matter is, I've known her far longer at street ministry then at work, but we only started to have a deeper relationship after I started working.
So I'm going to puzzle this one out. There are many more situations, which I'll get to. Writing helps me sort things out in my head. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'll be doing some reading and some advice seeking in the near future.

1 comment:

aawk said...

That is a tricky one. Do you have a social work supervisor at your job you can run it by? How about a mentor or former teacher? This situation sounds like a perfect supervision situation.