Canadian social workers rank amongst the highest for professional distress. We know from both theoretical models of occupational stress and empirical research that increasing systemic pressures, organizational changes and funding restrictions have been correlated to a rise in workplace dissatisfaction, exhaustion and even burnout in front-line practitioners. Yet, despite this solid ground for inquiry, a limited body of literature has explored the representational factors at play in clinical social workers’ occupational experience. These matters have garnered even less interest in the francophone linguistic minorities of this professional group. A broad exploration of professional distress is hence required to transcend the mere statistics of the phenomenon at hand and reveal how institutional experience, identity and language interact together under shared representations of profession and distress to shape the daily realities of clinical social workers. This research project thus seeks to further our understanding of professional distress in francophone clinical social workers in a minority setting. This was achieved through four distinct study under the same data sample. 30 semi-directed interviews were conducted within three distinct provinces: Manitoba (Winnipeg), Ontario (Ottawa) and New Brunswick (Moncton) with an equal distribution of participants. Our sample consisted of female social workers working in a healthcare setting and identifying as francophones having experienced professional distress in the past year. The interview guide was comprised of three large themes: the representation of social work, the formal training and experience of social workers and their professional distress. Matters of linguistic relevance was explored throughout. The data was apprehended by way of an integrated content analysis (Negura, 2006) performed on the relevant text transcriptions for each study. Simple measures of frequency and cooccurrence were retained to assist the interpretation of results based on subjective importance. We first sought to uncover the social representation of social work held by professional social workers in a Canadian healthcare setting. Was identified the elements and structure of the social representation of social work. Each element has implications for the daily practice of the profession, the cultivation of resilience and the core values of social work. Was further discussed the respondents’ perception of outside views of the profession and explores the tensions between the values of social work and its implementation in an institutional setting. With the professional representation of social word at hand, we were able to narrow our inquiry to the social workers’ lived experience of organizational constraints and its ties to professional distress. Discussions of daily work life, responsibilities, limitations and subjective appreciation of the social worker’s role revealed which organizational constraints were the most significant in everyday practice and how they relate to identity and mandate. Healthcare reforms were found to be generally negative for social workers, whose struggles for recognition were impaired by the fundamentally neoliberal ideologies behind large-scale restructuring, themselves are at odds with the humanistic principles of social work. Our inductive approach further allowed us to expand on the links between these reforms, professional distress and workplace well-being. A clearer prospect of the lived experience of healthcare social workers guided our progression to the core inquiry of the thesis: workplace well-being. We thereby sought to investigate the professionals’ social representation of professional distress directly. This exploration of the social workers’ shared workplace well-being builds on our previous findings by focusing on the representational elements at the root of their occupational suffering, thereby conciliating matters of identity, organizational norms and professional experience. Perceived attitudes, expectations, work-life imbalances and negative workplace experiences were all allege to increase the subjective experience of distress. The latter’s ties to societal norms, ideological pressures and value clashes within the institutions is discussed. Lastly, workplace well-being was approached through the lens of linguistic affiliation and its role in the representation of the professional distress of francophone healthcare social workers in minority settings. Faced with a contradictory literature on the influence of linguistic affiliation on mental health and workplace well-being, we argued that a representational inquiry could provide insight into these incongruences. Our results indicate that linguistic affiliation relates to the social representation of professional distress on matters of recognition, discrimination, employment precarity and role boundaries. These findings were discussed in terms of their ties to professional identity, the lived experience of our participants and the power relations that they involved. Overall, this research project seeks to open new lines of inquiry about the social work profession based on the experiences and points of view of front-line practitioners. In proposing our representational analysis of the professional identity of social workers, their experience of the workplace and their representation of professional distress, we hope to further the understanding of social work in general. With clear empirical evidence of the undue stress experienced by healthcare social workers, we also hope that this research may serve to assist policy makers and administrators to rethink healthcare reforms beyond the aims of financial efficacy and individualized care, but also in terms of their feasibility and symbolic significance for care providers. This thesis ultimately seeks to highlight the importance of organizational improvements of the workplace through systemic changes targeting managerial expectations, resources allocation, work life balance and the respect of professional values concurrently.
Professional distress in clinical social workers: an understanding through social representations / Levesque, Maude. - (2020 Sep 24).
|Titolo:||Professional distress in clinical social workers: an understanding through social representations|
|Data di discussione:||24-set-2020|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||07a Tesi di Dottorato|