An investigation of burnout amongst medical social workers working in children's wards

Lukelelo, Nomvuyo (2004-04)

On t.p.: Master of Arts in Social Work (Welfare Programme management)

Thesis (MA(MW))--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Medical social workers working in children's wards are more prone to burnout because of the stressful nature of their work. Because social work requires emotional involvement, it is not uncommon for workers to be emotionally drained and frustrated, which might lead to burnout. Stress amongst social workers is an important issue, as a stressed workforce can negatively affect the quality of service. This study was undertaken with the aim of providing guidelines for handling stress amongst medical social workers working in children's wards, in order to promote job satisfaction and enhance work performance. Chronically ill children who are hospitalised, often suffer from behavioural and emotional problems that require social work intervention, which in turn puts pressure on the social worker. Concurrent stressors on the children and their families may exhaust their normal coping capacity and further complicate the child's adaptation to hospitalisation. The role of the medical social worker is to provide social support to the child and the family in order to promote positive coping in the child during and after hospital treatment. The demands put on the social worker by hospitalised children can cause stress, which could adversely affect their work performance and job satisfaction. Social workers therefore, have to carefully select an appropriate practice framework when dealing with hospitalised children. This entails the selection of appropriate perspectives, theories and models to ensure effective intervention. These frameworks provide structure and directive to social work intervention, and combined with supervision, can promote job satisfaction amongst medical social workers. The study was undertaken amongst medical social workers working in paediatric wards within hospitals in the Cape Metropolitan area. The empirical study focused on an investigation of factors, which might contribute to the experience of burnout amongst the social workers. Work-related stressors playa major role in increasing the likelihood of burnout amongst social workers. If these stressors are not properly dealt with they might lead to burnout amongst medical social workers, which will have a direct bearing on the child's benefit from medical services. A combination of both organisationally based and individually based strategies should be implemented in order to overcome job-related stress and to prevent burnout.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Mediese maatskaplike werkers wat in kindersale werk, is meer geneig tot uitbranding as gevolg van die stresvolle aard van hulle werk. Maatskaplike werk vereis emosionele betrokkenheid. Dit is dus nie ongewoon vir maatskaplike werkers om emosioneel gedreineerd en gefrustreerd te voel nie. Laasgenoemde is kenmerke van uitbranding. Oormatige stres by maatskaplike werkers kan 'n negatiewe uitwerking op die kwaliteit van hul dienslewering hê. Hierdie navorsingstudie was onderneem met die oog op die daarstelling van riglyne vir die hantering van stres by mediese maatskaplike werkers, wat in kindersale werk om sodoende werkstevredenheid en -verrigting te bevorder. Kroniese siek kinders wat gehospitaliseer word, presenteer dikwels met gedrags- en emosionele probleme wat uiteraard tydens intervensie addisionele druk op die maatskaplike werker plaas. Gepaardgaande stressors kan daartoe lei dat pasiënte en hul gesinne afwyk van hul normale funksionering wat weer die pasiënt se hanteringsvermoë en aanpassing by die hospitaalopset belemmer. Die rol van die mediese maatskaplike werker is om sosiale ondersteuning aan bogenoemde partye te gee ten einde positiewe hanteringsvermoë tydens en na mediese behandeling, by pasiënte te vestig. Die eise wat deur pasiënte aan maatskaplike werkers gestel word kan stres veroorsaak wat hul werksverrigtinge en tevredenheid negatief kan affekteer. Maatskaplike werkers moet dus versigtig te werk gaan in die keuse van 'n gepaste praktykraamwerk vir intervensie ten opsigte van gehospitaliseerde kinders. 'n Verantwoordbare keuse van perspektiewe, teorieë en modelle lê ten grondslag van effektiewe maatskaplike werk intervensie. Hierdie raamwerke bied struktuur en rigting aan maatskaplike werk intervensie. Laasgenoemde, tesame met Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za superviste kan werkstevredenheid onder mediese maatskaplike werkers bevorder. Stressors wat met werk verband hou, speel 'n groot rol in die toename van uitbranding onder mediese maatskaplike werkers. Indien hierdie stressors nie effektief hanteer word nie, kan dit tot uitbranding by maatskaplike werkers ly wat dan weer die pasiënt se benutting van mediese dienste negatief beïnvloed. Die ondersoekgroep het bestaan uit tien mediese maatskaplike werkers wat werksaam was in paediatriese sale in hospitale binne die Kaapse Metropool. Tydens 'n empiriese ondersoek is gefokus op faktore wat moontlik aanleiding kan gee tot die uitbranding van maatskaplike werkers. Dit word dus aanbeveel dat 'n kombinasie van strategieë van beide die orgarusaste en die persoon geïmplementeer moet word om werksverwante stres te oorkom en dus uitbranding by mediese maatskaplike werkers te voorkom.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49843
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