The significance of social work supervision in the Department of Healh, Western Cape: Social workers experiences

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The profession of social work originated in the 19th century in England, as a means to address social deterioration caused by poverty. Supervision was used as a means to teach lay persons how to perform social work tasks, hence the reason why some experts in the field question the need for its continuance, as social work is a profession implying that once you qualify as a social worker you no longer need a more experienced person to guide your practice. The practise of social work is however governed by an ethical code of practice and legal prescripts which states that social workers can only be supervised by qualified social workers. Within the Department of Health, social workers are employed at health facilities where they have no access to social work supervisors. They are managed by other medical professionals or allied health staff, but not a social worker. This study therefore endeavoured to explore if social workers believe that social work supervision is still needed in the Department of Health by exploring the significance of social work supervision. This was done within the framework of understanding the practice of social workers, the organisational context of health services and the developments that have taken place within social work supervision over the last few decades. The researcher applied a qualitative research approach and as such, semi structured interviews was the data collection instrument which was used to gain a detailed picture of the participants’ beliefs on this topic. The research aimed to elicit the experiences of the significance of supervision by social workers and as such, one-on-one interviewing allowed for a more meaningful interaction between the researcher and participants. For the study, 17 production social workers in the Department of Health, Western Cape were interviewed. The study comprises of two literature chapters outlining the Department of Health as an employer of social workers, the functioning of interdisciplinary teams within this structure, as well as the profession of social work. The last literature chapter covers the role of social work within health and provides an overview of the writings of academics, on the significance of social work supervision within the practice of the profession, but not Stellenbosch University iii necessarily specific to a health service. The 4th chapter is the empirical study and chapter 5 is the findings and conclusions of the research. The conclusions drawn from the findings identified social work supervision as being significant to equip, develop and provide support to the social work practice within health services. No distinction was drawn between the need for junior versus more senior social workers regarding supervision. Social work supervision is a strong indicator for quality service. The primary recommendation is for the provision of access to social work supervision for social workers employed in the Department of Health.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die maatskaplikewerk-professie het ontstaan in die 19de eeu om sosiale euwels wat veroorsaak is deur armoede aan te spreek. Supervisie is benut om nie-professionele persone te leer hoe om maatskaplikewerk-take te verrig. Dit is daarom dat die deskundiges nou nog die noodsaaklikheid van supervisie vir professionele maatskaplike werkers bevraagteken. Die praktyk word gereguleer deur ʼn etiese kode en wetlike voorskrifte wat bepaal dat supervisie van maatskaplike werkers slegs deur gekwalifiseerde maatskaplike werkers gedoen mag word. Maatskaplike werkers wat in die Departement van Gesondheid werk het egter geen toegang tot ʼn maatskaplikewerk-supervisor nie. Hulle word bestuur deur mediese personeel of ander gesondheidswerkers, maar nie ʼn maatskaplike werker nie. Die studie het daarom gepoog om ondersoek in te stel of maatskaplike werkers wat in die Departement van Gesondheid werk beleef dat maatskaplikewerk-supervisie steeds nodig is. Die navorsing is gedoen binne die konteks van die maatskaplikewerk-praktyk en die konteks van gesondheidsorganisasies. ʼn Kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering is gebruik. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is gebruik om die nodige inligting in te samel. Persoonlike onderhoude is gebruik om die ervaringe van maatskaplike werkers rondom die noodsaaklikheid van supervisie te ondersoek. Onderhoude is gevoer met 17 produksie maatskaplike werkers wat in die Departement van Gesondheid werk. Die navorsing bestaan uit twee literatuur hoofstukke wat die Departement van Gesondheid as werkgewer, die funksionering van interdissiplinêre spanwerk binne die werksopset sowel as die professie van maatskaplike werk beskryf. Die rol van maatskaplike werk in die gesondheidsdiens word in die laaste literatuur hoofstuk beskryf met ʼn oorsig van akademiese skrywes oor die belangrikheid van maatskaplikewerk-supervisie binne die praktyk, maar nie spesifiek in ʼn gesondheidsomgewing nie. Hoofstuk vier bied ʼn verslag oor die empiriese studie en hoofstuk vyf is ʼn verslag oor die gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings. Die studie het bevind dat supervisie belangrik is om maatskaplike werkers te ontwikkel en te ondersteun in die gesondheidsdiens. Daar is geen onderskeid getref tussen die noodsaaklikheid van supervisie vir ʼn junior teenoor ʼn meer ervare maatskaplike werker nie. Supervisie is nodig vir kwaliteit diens. Die primêre aanbeveling fokus op die voorsiening van toegang tot maatskaplikewerk-supervisie vir maatskaplike werkers in die Departement van Gesondheid.
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.
Supervisors – Social services, Skills – Social workers, Western Cape (South Africa) -- Dept. of Health, UCTD