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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/1473325020981078

Approaching uncertainty in social work education, a lesson from COVID-19 pandemic

04 Mar 2021-Qualitative Social Work (SAGE Publications)-Vol. 20, pp 561-567
Abstract: COVID-19 pandemic intensified feelings of uncertainty about the future. Although uncertainty is not a new phenomenon for social workers, the uncertainty that has been produced due to COVID-19 pande...

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Topics: Social work (56%)
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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3390/SU13137109
20 Apr 2021-Sustainability
Abstract: This paper aimed to explore the changes posed by the new COVID-19 pandemic to the field of social work and its impact on social workers in terms of job stress and burnout in Romania. Two conceptual models were used to frame the discussion: the theoretical framework of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) to discuss the challenges that the unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic has created for social workers; and the Job Demands and Resources model (JD-R) to understand job demands perceived as stressors and burnout. Based on convergent mixed methods, the study sample consisted of 83 social workers employed in statutory and private social services in Romania, from different areas of intervention. Results showed that social workers perceived a high level of job stress related to work during the pandemic, which was associated with higher levels of burnout in the areas of personal burnout (average score 55.9) and work-related burnout (average score 52.5). Client-related burnout was lower (average score 38.4), indicating that stress was generated mainly by organisational factors and work-related factors (workload, aligning to new legislative rules and decisions, inconsistency, instability, ambiguity of managerial decisions, and lack of clarity of working procedures) and less by client-related stressors (lack of direct contact with clients, risk of contamination, managing beneficiaries’ fears, and difficulties related to technology). High job demands and limited job resources (managerial and supervisory support, financial resources, and recognition and reward) led to a high to very high level of work-related burnout for 15.7% and an upper-medium level for 44.2% of respondents. A group of 27.7% reported lower to medium levels of work-related burnout, while 14.5% had very low levels, managing to handle stress factors in a healthy manner. Study results pointed to the importance of organisational support and the development of a self-care plan that help to protect against job stress and burnout. Recommendations were made, putting forward the voice of fieldworkers and managers fostering initiatives and the application of sustainability-based measures and activities designed to deal with the challenges of the VUCA environment.

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Topics: Burnout (64%), Social Welfare (52%), Social work (51%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.3389/FPSYG.2021.719403
Abstract: Introduction: The professional self is often hindered by a lack of self-care and poor work-life balance, and cannot be considered an unlimited resource. Given this, the reflexive team is an important organizational tool for protecting workers' well-being. The non-profit organization Maestri di Strada (MdS) ("Street Teachers") conducts action research (AR) in the area of socio-education. The main tool used by the group to protect the well-being of its members is a guided reflexivity group, inspired by the Balint Group and termed the Multi-Vision Group (MG). In March 2020, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the MdS team had to quickly revamp its working model, and MGs were held online for the first time. Aim: Through qualitative research that takes a longitudinal approach, the aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of the MG in supporting the team's reflexivity in this new online format. Methods: This article considers MGs during two different time periods: pre-pandemic (T1) and early pandemic (T2). During T1, the MdS team met 18 times in person, while during T2 the team met 12 times through an online platform (always under the guidance of a psychotherapist). During all sessions in both time periods, a silent observer was present in the meetings, and they subsequently compiled narrative reports. The textual corpora of the reports were submitted for a Thematic Analysis of Elementary Contexts through T-Lab Plus, in order to examine the main content of the groups' discourse. Results: The results (five clusters in T1; and five in T2) show that, during T2, the group devoted considerable time to experiences tied to the pandemic (T21: schools facing the pandemic crisis; T2.2: the pandemic: death, inner worlds, and thought resistance; T2.3: kids' stories involving physical distancing and emotional proximity). The group also came up with innovative educational initiatives that defied the lockdown (T2.4: fieldwork: the delivery of "packages of food for thought"; T2.5: the MdS group: identity and separation). Based on these findings, the MG most likely contributed to the emergence of MdS as a "resilient community," capable of absorbing the shock of the pandemic and realizing a fast recovery response.

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Topics: Reflexivity (51%), Thematic analysis (50%), Action research (50%)

1 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/00208728211051412
Abstract: This research seeks to explore the experiences of social work educators and students working and learning from home. The findings, from an international survey sample of 166 educators and students, showed that the respondents faced issues with private and personal boundaries, felt the impact of working and learning from home on both physical and emotional levels, and experienced challenges to what was expected of them. The respondents primarily used two types of coping mechanisms to manage these challenges. These findings contribute to a broader discussion of the impact of working and learning from home and are relevant for education administrators responsible for their employees? and students? well-being.

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Topics: Social work (53%), Personal boundaries (50%)

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1972963
Mim Fox1, Siobhan McHugh1, Denika Thomas, Felix Kiefel-Johnson2  +1 moreInstitutions (3)
Abstract: Social work content podcasting has increased exponentially in recent years, playing a new role in the emerging social work education debate surrounding online and remote delivery of social work con...

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Topics: Social work (58%)

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.06.05.21258401
07 Jun 2021-medRxiv
Abstract: It is forecasted that the skills and competencies necessary for post-pandemic success in higher education need to be founded upon adaptability, coping, and Self-regulated Learning (SRL). It is worth investigating how stakeholders perceived their adaptability and coping with the accelerated change accompanying COVID-19. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to assess the self-reported adaptability of postgraduate dental learners and their instructors in the context of abrupt transition to distance learning induced by the pandemic. This study utilized a convergent mixed methods study design. The qualitative and quantitative data were concurrently collected from instructors and learners. The datasets were analyzed independently, and the generated information was integrated using a joint model analysis. The percentage of average of self-reported adaptability of both groups was 81.15%. The instructors, with a mean of satisfaction of 17.94 ({+/-}1.76), rated their adaptability significantly higher than the learners, with a mean of satisfaction of 15.66 ({+/-}2.77) (p=0.002). The thematic analysis resulted in two interrelated themes: Self and Environment. Within the Self theme, three subthemes surfaced: Cognitions, Emotions, Behaviors. As for the Environment theme, it encapsulated two subthemes: Enablers and Impediments. The stakeholders perceived themselves to have adapted well to the transition, and SRL appeared as a cornerstone in the adaptation to the accelerated change (accompanying COVID-19). There appeared to be an interplay between the cognitions, emotions, and behaviors on the level of the self as part of the adaptation process. Also, building upon existent models of SRL, this study uncovered that the stakeholders considered the environment to play a crucial role in their adaptation process. This highlights the importance of developing a climate that remains, despite external pressures, conducive to attaining learning and teaching goals. It is also crucial for university-level mental health promotion activities to proactively foster, among learners and instructors, adaptability, building academic resilience.

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Topics: Adaptability (55%), Thematic analysis (50%)
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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/BJSW/BCH365
Abstract: Much has been made of the uncertainties and contingencies of practice, and of the need for social workers to make more explicit use of formal knowledge in order to reduce this uncertainty. However, we argue that this focus on making certainty out of uncertainty glosses over the ways in which both knowledge and practice often propel practitioners towards early and certain judgements when a position of ‘respectful uncertainty’ might be more appropriate. Facilitating learning that will help social workers to deal with uncertainty raises challenges for social work educators. If they are to equip social workers with the skills to exercise ‘wise judgement under conditions of uncertainty’, they will need to recognize the ways in which both theory and popular knowledge are invoked to make unequivocal knowledge in case formulation. In this paper, we suggest ways in which students can be helped to remain in uncertainty and interrogate their knowledge and case reasoning.

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Topics: Judgement (56%), Social learning (56%), Social work (53%) ... read more

145 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1177/1468017307080282
Abstract: • Summary: The oral transmission and transformation of client information in an apprenticeship setting provides a rich environment in which to observe students and their expert supervisors managing uncertainty. In this Canadian-based study, we examined the communicative features of 12 social work supervisions involving social work students and their supervisors and enriched our observations with subsequent interviews of the participants.• Findings: Social work students viewed the acknowledgement and examination of uncertainty as a touchstone of competent social work. This observation contrasted with our past study of medical and optometry students who focused on personal deficit and a distrust of acknowledging uncertainty. Our observations and interviews revealed a unique professional signature to the novice rhetoric of uncertainty (seeking guidance, deflecting criticism, owning limits, showing competence) that suggests differing professional identities and contextual settings.• Applications : An attitudi...

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29 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1332/204986013X665974
Topics: Social work (65%)

27 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.20849/JED.V3I2.613
16 May 2019-
Abstract: Higher education has faced many challenges since its meager inception. However, higher education today faces its greatest combinations of challenges: economic uncertainty, accountability, globalization and emerging technologies that are daunting to learn and intimidating to implement. VUCA accurately describes this complex, evolving and dynamic environment confronted by global higher education. Therefore, global higher education institutions are attempting to develop the capacity to adapt and modify the new models of knowledge, information and change. In the Industrial Era, work got done in silos with adherence to process and the cult of efficiency. However, this type of working will no longer suffice in an era characterized by flux and change--the VUCA world.

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Topics: Higher education (51%), Globalization (51%)

20 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/02615470601081704
Abstract: The social work profession has always been involved in dealing with uncertainty and risk in the life politics of clients. However, it is not easy for young social work students to translate this philosophical disposition into their real life practice with clients. In spring 2003, when the SARS epidemic broke out in Hong Kong, a group of social work students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong were doing their fieldwork practicum. Suddenly confronted by a collective sense of risk in their role as social workers, the students went through a period of unrest, as performing their helping duties brought with it a simultaneous exposure to personal risk. This paper is based on four focus group interviews with these social work students, to understand how they processed their experience of risk during their exposure to the SARS crisis, and how they connected the experience to their social work practice with clients. It is found that the predicament arising from the exposure to personal risk brought about by ...

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Topics: Practicum (58%), Social work (58%), Focus group (53%)

6 Citations