Although much is known about why social workers leave the profession, much less is known about what enables some social workers to remain working in highly stressful situations for many years and retain a passion for their work. Based on in-depth interviews with six Australian social workers with at least 10 years practice experience, factors associated with retention included self-awareness, a sense of perspective, having a strong professional identity, a sense of humour, the ability to recognise and respond to the emotional impact of the work, clear separation of work and home, and a mental interlude of some intermediate activity between leaving work and arriving home. Whereas previous research has depicted job change as a sign of burnout, for participants in this study changing jobs was regarded as a preventive measure which enabled them to continue in social work.
Field of Research
160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
Socio Economic Objective
920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified