Accordingto Clark and Cox (2010), the direct service workforce (DSW) is anextensive classification of employees in the human services andhealth industry. Across many regions, it is the role of directservice workers to deliver hands-on support and health care topersons on the basis of their personal health care as well as humannecessities. Some of the accountabilities direct service workers areexpected to fulfill involve, but are not limited to, housekeeping andbudgeting, personal hygiene and health care, providing employmentsupports, providing opportunities for community integration amongmany more. With the increasing complexities of a DS’s job on thebasis of a sustained drive towards the achievement of individualizedservices in our communities, DS competencies are receiving amplifiedrecognition and attention as critical components of workforcedevelopment.
PoorDS workforce performance has been closely linked to the widespreadinadequacies of human service delivery, stemming from workers’failure to exhibit compliance with vocational practice guidelines.Nevertheless, there is an accord within health and human servicesprograms regarding the need for operative workforce standards, inorder to guarantee the providence of high quality jobs. Theadvancement of professional standards is a clear indication that avocation has taken a glimpse of where it has been, where it currentlyis, and exactly where it is headed (Neukrug, 2000). With the constantevolution of standards, many professions reflect, review, and evensometimes, abolish some of their vocational standards depending ontheir effectiveness. Professional standards can assume many forms,but the most conspicuous ones applicable to the human services domainare: skill standards, ethical standards, program accreditation andcredentialing. Let’s closely examine how these standards affect thedelivery of services in the vocation of direct services.
Themain purpose of these skills standard is to nurture the “voluntaryskill” values for direct service practitioners. They also increasethe career prospects for human services workforce by generating afoundation for a nationally acknowledged accreditation of directservices specialists. One good example of skill standard iscommunication. An important communication competency skill for a DSWwould be “to use courteous, effective and sensitive communicationskills” to build a lasting connection with clients. Additionally,these ethical standards dictate how the client-worker relationshipought to be.
Aprofessional code of ethics for a direct service worker promotesrespect, negotiation, recognition and confidentiality. Codes ofethics dictate how human service employees ought to respect othercultures, and beliefs for the relationships that are imperative inthe client’s life. In general, codes of ethics dictate how a directservice worker can refrain from improper relationships like negativesocializing, the use of coercion as well as negative sexualtendencies. Ethical practices for human service workers includerespecting all the outlined vocational laws, high integrity, propermaintenance of client health files and records, and adherence toemployer procedures and policies (Clark and Cox, 2010).
Credentialingis yet another accountability standard that ensures professionalismin the DSW domain. Certification involves the recognition thatindividuals within the DSW professional group have met somepredetermined standards of vocational professionalism. Credentialingand licensure denote that only the licensed individuals that meetcertain standards are supposed to practice in that specificprofessional arena (Smith, 1997). Accredited programs also influencethe performance of a DSW because it always results in improvedpatient healthcare programs since accredited programs attract betterfaculty deliverance. It becomes apparent, therefore, that all thesefour standards directly influence the delivery of services in theprofession of direct human services. DSW’s comprehend exactly whatis expected of them ethically, skill wise, and credential wisethereby eliciting only the sought after vocational traits that arenecessary in bulwarking the providence of quality patient careservices.
Accordingto Neukrug (2000), these standards also influence how the leaders ofagencies manage the daily operations in an agency. In anorganization, it is the managers or leaders that often set thestandards that their employees must meet in order for them to beabsorbed into their companies. Therefore, it is these managers thatstipulate the required set of skills and competencies required fortheir employees to be active members of their teams. In other words,these standards influence the vocational training opportunitiesprovided by employers so as to enable their employee’s gain onlythe essential set of skills that meet the “standards” requiredfor the successful execution of direct human services. Consequently,it is benign to declare that these standards influence how companyleaders manage the daily operations in their agency because they actas a guide to what the manager needs to do so as to inculcate intotheir employees, the “desired” vocational competencies that areindispensable for the successful execution of their employee’sprofessional obligations through skills expansion training.
Itis the opinion of Smith (1997) that accountability standards have aninfluence on the vocational satisfaction of direct service workers.Satisfaction in a workplace often stems from the successfulfulfillment of vocational responsibilities and the successfulfulfillment of vocational responsibilities heavily relies on theattainment of vocational standards. Therefore, the satisfaction ofdirect service workers is optimum when they possess all the requiredskills that enable them live up to their vocational standardsthereby successfully accomplishing their contractual obligations.Direct service workers dissatisfaction emanates from unsuccessful jobexecution, owing to non-matching up to the desired accountabilitystandards which ultimately occasions professional dissatisfaction(Clark and Cox, 2010).
Itgoes without saying, that the possession of the preferredprofessional standards is often met with warmth by organizationalmanagers. This is because there is no cause for vocational frictionbetween an employer and an employee because the worker’s skills aresatisfactory meaning that there will be no sour relations betweenemployers and employees. On the contrary, the relations between anemployer and an employee can turn sour in case an employee’s skillsdo not match up to the acceptable professional accountabilitystandards. This explains why employers normally give their employees“the sack” on the basis of incompetence, signaling bitterresentments between employees and their employers (Neukrug, 2000).
Clark,E., & Cox, C. (2010). Professional Accountability. KeyConcepts in Healthcare Education,143-148. doi:10.4135/9781446251744.n27
Neukrug,E. (2000). Theory,practice, and trends in human services: An introduction to anemerging profession.Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Thomson Learning.
Smith,T. (1997). Human Services Integration. 114-118. doi:10.4324/9781315862477