Before making decisions on whether to conduct clinical sessions with Qiu Min, Jane could have considered several ethical guidelines.
Jane needed to recognise that professional responsibility takes precedence over personal aims and views. Social workers provide services and represent themselves competent only within the boundaries of their education, training, licence certification, consultation received, supervised experience or other relevant professional experience. In this case, she does not have formal postgraduate training on treating eating disorders. She based her limitations in knowledge of what she had learnt in literature/ university presentations/ clinical courses, to conclude that she had sufficient ability to intervene in Qiu Min’s medical condition.
With what Jane had learnt regarding eating disorders, she could have reflected on whether she was the best person to provide consultation/ counselling for Qiu Min. Suppose that she was aware that she was not the best person and yet went ahead with counselling Qiu Min, she would have disregarded the ethics of affirming the right to client self-determination by ensuring that client is both aware of and has assessed alternative options. Jane was to provide all relevant information about going to an eating disorders clinic for advice, so that Qiu Min could make an informed decision.
Suppose that Jane was unsure of whether she was the best person to work with Qiu Min, she could consult her own clinical supervisor about this case. This would be in line with the ethical guideline of social workers acting on the recognition that effective service depends on cooperation among professional disciplines and others with due regard to respective areas of competence. This was in regards to her supervisor having more years of seniority/ experience as well as the professionals who work with eating disorder clients.
Qiu Min suffered from depression as indicated in the abstract. I am unsure if it referred to clinical depression, but the fact that she also had binging on food and purging signs alongside with depression might indicate that Qiu Min was having a more serious medical condition than perceived by Jane. I am surprised that Jane did not seem to have approached her supervisor for advice, as it was not mentioned in the abstract.
Even as Qiu Min continued to struggle with the eating disorder and Jane did not see any improvement especially over a long period of 3 months, Jane’s inefficiency at practice (which would also be due to her lack of ethical guidelines and not perceiving this situation as a crisis) had resulted in harm to client in an increasing manner. According to the passage, it was even more difficult to treat Qiu Min’s medical condition which had worsened and could have been prevented.
Jane’s incompetency in practice had serious repercussions on Qiu Min’s health and psychological/ emotional conditions. Qiu Min’s family was also deeply distressed and they might even lose their daughter eventually. Ultimately, Jane had to face the consequences of making her own decisions without much consideration to conducting professional practice. In this case, she was alleged by Qiu Min’s family of incompetent practice through the Accreditation Board. Jane had risked losing her job, career path and reputation as a Social Worker. If this case was brought up to the media, Jane would face much shame and a bad name for the organisation she was working for.