Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work and Social Research


Social workers in children's hospitals practice with families who experience life-altering events in the form of illness, injury, abuse/neglect, dying and death. The nature of families, complexity of medicine, ongoing technological advances and the commodification of health care create complicated ethical considerations for these social workers. These facts and my experience with ethical dilemmas and problems in pediatric health care led me to investigate whether social workers in children's hospitals were knowledgeable about the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) professional Code of Ethics and whether these social workers used the NASW ethical standards in practice venues. Selected moral theory provided the framework for this study in order to learn about the ethical intuitions and reasoning of social workers who practice in pediatric hospitals. In order to answer these questions a qualitative, exploratory study was done and data collected from social workers who practice in children's hospitals. Results provided innovative recommendations for research and practice.


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair: Cynthia D Bisman
Committee Members: Raymond Albert, Michael Allen, James Martin, Janet Shapiro