Professional Roles, Skills, & Conduct


Professional skills for CHWs include how to handle ethical challenges as they address legal and social challenges facing the clients and communities they serve. Client confidentiality and privacy rights must be protected in the context of employer and legal reporting requirements. Care for clients must be balanced with care for self. CHWs understand that it is necessary to be aware of one’s own emotional and behavioral responses to clients and community members and to manage personal feelings productively in order to maintain effectiveness. CHWs must be able to act decisively in complex circumstances but also to utilize supervision and professional collaboration. They must observe agency rules and the regulations governing public and private resources while exercising creativity in helping community members meet their individual and family needs.

During our training, participants will learn how to:
  • Practice in compliance with the Massachusetts Code of Ethics for Community Health Workers
  • Observe the scope and boundaries of the CHW role in the context of the agency team and agency policy
  • Respect client rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and applicable agency rules
  • Understand issues related to abuse, neglect, and criminal activity that may be reportable under law and regulation according to agency policy
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries that balance professional and personal relationships, recognizing dual roles as both CHW and community member
  • Seek assistance from supervisors as necessary to address challenges related to work responsibilities
  • Establish priorities and organize one’s time, resources, and activities to achieve them
  • Utilize and advocate as necessary for supervision, training, continuing education, networking, and other resources for professional development and lifelong learning for self and colleagues
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