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ASWB Exam Practice: Risk Assessment

office talkHere's a free social work exam practice question to keep you sharp:

On an initial intake with a community clinic social worker, a client reports that he made a threat to a co-worker and was given a leave of absence from work as a result. He says that he needs a note from the social worker stating he is able to perform the duties of his job so he can return to work. How should the social worker proceed?   

A. Describe the criteria the client will need to meet in order to receive the requested note.   

B. Tell the client that the social worker cannot help with the requested note to his employer.   

C. Seek consultation regarding the social worker's ability to write the requested note.   

D. Tell the client he must attend an anger management group before the note can be written.

What do you think…? Are you sure…?

Let's take the answers one a time.

A. This is great if you know all that material. But what are the chances the social worker has the full picture here? It's premature to start spelling out criteria for a note.

B. Social workers can write notes just like the one requested. A hard "no" isn't necessarily appropriate here.

C. When you don't know, ask. This answer is a contender.

D. This answer tries to lure you in to making hasty conclusions about what's going on. Rely on the evidence presented. In this case, a client report about a threat isn't enough to take decisive action on. Avoid answers that assume information not clearly spelled out in the question. Pass on this.

Which leaves us with a best of the offered answers: C, consult.

Did you get it right?

Generally speaking, conducting a risk assessment that determines if the client should return to work is a specialized skill. The social worker (who we're not led to believe has these special skills) should seek consultation to discuss whether or not writing the note is within the social worker's scope of practice and expertise.

And remember, the very best answer may not be offered in the multiple choice question. Where's "seek collateral information"? Not included here. You're tasked with picking the best of the offered answers, whether it's the very best course of action or not.

The ASWB is a gatekeeper. The org's job is to ensure that license social workers know how to operate safely and ethically within the scope of social work practice. Don't expect to see many questions about obscure theories on the ASWB exam. The test is designed to assess whether you have the essentials understood:  what's ethical, what's safe, and what's a social worker's job.

Know that Code of Ethics. Have common sense. And keep taking practice tests to make sure you're reading closely, carefully, and with ever-increasing wisdom about how the exam works and how to pass it.  Sign up up with us to get started.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

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