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Sticking around : why and how some social workers stay in the profession
journal contributionposted on 2012-09-01, 00:00 authored by P Chiller, Beth CrispBeth Crisp
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.