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SW478 Social Work Practice In Health Care

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SW478 Social Work Practice In Health Care Question: Provide a one- to two-paragraph statement that is the result of a review of research findings and current practice and that contains the following information: 1. A logical argument for the need to address an identified gap in the research literature that has current relevance to the discipline and area of practice. Keep in mind that a gap in the research is not, in and of itself, a reason to conduct research. Make sure to clarify the problem that led you to the gap.   2. Preliminary evidence that provides justification that this problem is meaningful to the discipline or professional field. Provide three to five key citations that support the relevance and currency of the problem. These references need not all be from peerreviewed journals but should be from reputable sources, such as national agency databases or scholarly books, and should ideally be from the past 5 years. Answer: Problem Statement The purpose of this research is to study the effects of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma on the retention of agencies in child welfare. Serving as a child welfare worker is quite challenging. It exposes the professionals to secondary trauma and compassion fatigue. The research is aimed at bridging the gap in knowledge because as it is today, no current study has been done on this subject matter. The findings from the research will be used in understanding the subject and providing adequate information to the scholars and experts to address the challenges faced by the social workers specializing in child welfare (Dagan et al., 2016).  Child welfare social worker compassion fatigue and burnout due to Secondary Trauma are indicative of a growing problem in the past in human services organizations (McFadden, Campbell, & Taylor, 2015).  Challenges faced by Child welfare social workers include compassion fatigue, burnout, and lack of agency commitment to their organization. These Challenges can present as complex case loads, unrealistic expectations from their agency, long work days, few resources, low wages, public scrutiny, and extensive paperwork (Arrington, 2008; Sprang, Craig & Clark, 2011, Boyas, Wind, & Ruiz, 2015). According to Boyas et al., 2015, these challenges are linked with increased levels of burnout and job stress which results in retention issues. Over 50% of Child Welfare workers have reported feelings and symptoms of burnout (Boyars et. al., 2015). Research suggests that personal experiences affect child welfare workers’ commitment to an organization. It influences the perception, satisfaction, and the retention of employees (Zlotnik, Depanfilis, Daining & Lane, 2005).   Child Welfare Workers who serve traumatized victims of family violence are susceptible to compassion fatigue secondary trauma (Choi, 2016).  Compassion fatigue and secondary trauma may prevent a child welfare worker from providing quality services as well as empower the survivors of family violence, secondary trauma, and compassion fatigue may also affect the child welfare workers job satisfaction and agency commitment (Choi, 2016).  Social workers who have experienced personal trauma, anxiety, or mood disorders, personal relationships that involve conflict, have a low threshold for minor annoyances, boredom and a lack of professional commitment have intensified the risk of burnout (Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley & Segal, 2015).  In 2015, Geoffrion, Morselli, & Guay examined how social workers personal perspective, as well as organizational and occupational stressors, influences them. They found that 37% of the social workers manifested clinical levels of emotional stress associated with compassion fatigue and that 100% of the participants reported the feelings of compassion fatigue (Geoffrion et. al, 2015).  Over the last decade, the numbers of child welfare social workers affected by the tragedy of others are growing, of the 104 case managers interviewed, 29% reported high burnout levels while 28% reported high levels of exposure to secondary trauma (Wilson, 2013).  Salloum, Kondrat, Johnco, & Olson report that high levels of Secondary Trauma and burn out contribute to staff turnover. As reported by Sallourn, Kondrat, Johnco, & Olson, 2015, secondary trauma and burnout pose a serious challenge in child welfare organizations that lead to employee turnover which varies depending on the studies however it is high with cases reported at 14 and 60% every year (Lizano, 2015).  In an article written by Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley, and Segal report that burnout can be linked to stress at work as well as trauma and a lack of support and resources (Mcfadden, Campbell, & Taylor, 2015).   Purpose Significance This research is paramount because it will be relied upon to immensely contribute towards in filing the pending gap in knowledge as well as supporting professional practice in the field of child welfare. First and foremost, the research will fill a gap in improving and understanding how experienced child welfare social workers describe the significance of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma when deciding to remain in the field.  It will bring much-needed insight into the chronic social problems compassion fatigue, secondary trauma has among child welfare workers employed to assist traumatized persons, difficult parents, and children at risk of abuse (McFadden, et. al., 2015). This is an area that has not been fully exploited by scholars. No research has been conducted to study the effects of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma on agency retention in child welfare. All the missing links will, therefore, be filled with the research. It will use the most appropriate methodologies to help in the collection of valid and unbiased data that will be relied upon by the future scholars. Apart from filling the gaps in knowledge, the research will be relied upon to contribute towards the growth of the child welfare profession. It will aid the MSW students and social work academic programs in ways to recognize, address and explore effective ways to respond to and minimize the effects of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, while deciding to work and remain in the field (McFadden, et. al., 2015). Since most social work positions in the child welfare require an MSW, the research will provide insightful information to help in addressing the inequities in the field of Human Services. Social change within the child welfare system would reduce compassion fatigue, reduces the effects of exposure to secondary trauma, and increase agency retention (McFadden, et. al., 2015). It would further allow agencies to improve turnover with recruits, improve hiring, develop and implement training on effective ways for child welfare workers to take care of themselves (Boyas et al., 2015). The positive social change connotations include; knowledge useful for staff development trainers, educators and social worker academic programs, social workers, and other researchers who are interested in searching for ways to improve or minimize child welfare social workers exposure to compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and increase agency commitment (McFadden et. al., 2015; Boyas et al., 2015; Dagan et al., 2016). Background The main assertions in the research problem were be clarified using some published scholarly works. It is necessary to do so because the inclusion of the publications helped in providing adequate background information to support the research. Some researchers have examined the problem of compassion fatigue amongst other professionals. Fourteen studies were conducted that examine compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, burnout amongst child welfare workers across the United States. Selected articles relating to social worker compassion fatigue and burnout while being exposed to client secondhand trauma are described here:   There is no doubt that job-related stress is not a new topic. It has been extensively researched. Over the years, many researchers have come up to study the subject to provide insight on it. One such studies are “Occupational Stress and Failures of Social Support: When Helping Hurts” (Beehr et al.  2010).   The topic of job-related stress has been researched in the past. However, not everything has been unmasked because many researchers do not go ahead to propose the required solutions that can be applied to remedy the situation. As clearly outlined by (Anastas, 2012), adequate research still needs to be conducted on this topic. It is necessary to do so because it will help in filling the missing gap (Cooper & Dewe, 2004: Jex, 1998).   Barbee cites that social worker’s with graduate education in child welfare were more likely to be retained after two years of services in an agency; however, many left at around the four-year mark.  It also examined two studies to explore the possible reasons for departure after only four years (Barbee, et. al. 2099). Yamatani, Engel, and Spjeldnes carried out extensive research in which they examined caseload standards for child welfare workers.  The study examined the understanding of the child welfare workers’ reasonable workload expectations as a key element for job retention, and the quality of service delivery (Yamatani, Engel, and Spjeldnes, 2009). Dickinson and Painter explored the persistently high turnover of child welfare staff and how it hinders the effectiveness and reliability of the agencies in serving the children, youth, and families (Dickinson and Painter, 2009). Newell, Nelson-Gardell, and Mac Neil explored various concepts and construct describing professional burnout, compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress reaction, as well as other related terms and constructs that best describe these experiences among clinical practitioners and other social service professionals (Newell, Nelson-Gardell, and Mac Neil, 2015). A study by McFadden, Campbell, and Taylor acknowledge child welfare workers as a challenging profession which is prone to numerous challenges. Most importantly, the profession has poor employee retention, because many workers are always in transit (McFadden, Campbell, and Taylor, 2013). In their article published in 2105, Geoffrion, Morselli, and Guay acknowledge that compassion fatigue is the most common type of stress affecting many employees in the workplace. The study went on to provide insight on the significant roles of care and collaboration amongst the child protection workers (Geoffrion, Morselli, and Guay, 2015). A study by Boyas, Wind and Ruiz depicts how child welfare workers continue to suffer from increased levels of job stress and burnout resulting in social workers leaving (Boyas, Wind, and Ruiz, 2014). Salloum, Kondrat, Johnco, and Olson conducted research in which they examined the work done by the child welfare employees as well as the various challenges they face in the line of duty. The research established that child welfare is quite challenging because of the exposure to compassion stress and secondary compassion trauma (Salloum, Kondrat, Johnco, and Olson, 2015). The cases of stress and trauma have a negative impact on the retention and quality of services delivered by the child welfare workers. In their research, Johnco, Sallum, Olson, and Edwards carried out studies to find out the prevalence of employee turnover amongst the child welfare workers. The research also sought to explore negative effects of employee turnover in the child welfare sector, its employees, and clients as well (Johnco, Sallum, Olson, and Edwards, 2014). The quick descriptions of the effects of compassion fatigue and burnout on social workers provide a clear view what social workers may experience on a daily basis when exposed to client secondhand trauma.  This overwhelming phenomenon has left social workers feeling burnout, unsupported by their agency, and a lack agency commitment.  These experiences are not yet documented in the literature.  The study will, therefore, provide an adequate comprehension of the needs and experiences.  A theoretical model which will be relied upon to provide insight into the experiences of the social worker is Brofenbrenner’s ecological theory.   Framework The research will be grounded on the Ecological Systems Theory. The theory was developed by Bronfenbrenner Urie. According to this theory, individuals’ development is influenced by the immediate environment. To expound the theory, Urie suggested that environment is divided int five levels: microsystem, mesosystem, chronosystem, macro system, and exosystem. Each of these levels of the environment has a direct influence on one’s development. The ecological systems theory can help in conducting the research. It will help in informing the research’s theoretical framework by justifying the social worker’s interactions with the family or the individual client. Its application in the study will help in providing insight into the impacts of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma on the social workers charged with the responsibility of children’s welfare. Each of the levels of the theory will be applicable in the research. For instance, microsystem, which essentially deals with the closest environment, will help in understanding how the workplace setting influences the social workers’ decision to discharge their duties. The microsystem level of environment will be of great contribution in te research as it will help in connecting the social workers with their immediate workplace setting which ideally influences most of the decisions they make in determining the direction of their career. Research Questions The research design will be informed by the following questions: RQ1: What are the experiences of frontline child welfare workers? RQ2: How do child welfare workers address issues that have emerged because of their exposure to secondary trauma? RQ3: How do child welfare workers describe changes in their levels of stress after two years of employment? RQ4: What measures do child welfare workers take to cope with their personal and occupational experience when exposed to secondary trauma? RQ5: What do child welfare agencies do to ensure their employees have the support and assistance needed to retain staff? Nature Of The Study This study will be a qualitative research.  It will apply qualitative research methods to collect data whose findings will be used to respond to the research questions in line with the objectives. The use of qualitative research design will enable the researcher to carry out an in-depth analysis to examine how experienced child welfare workers describe the significance of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma when deciding whether to remain in the field or not. It will also help in understanding the impacts it has on social workers and the clients they work with through a phenomenological approach. The qualitative study will, therefore, be relied upon to attempt to describe how the exposure of the social workers to secondary trauma causes compassion fatigue and burnout in the field.  Finally, qualitative research methodology applied here will explore how the social workers intent to stay (commitment) in service is greatly affected by the lack of agency support availed to them. Possible Types And Sources Of Data The research will employ the use of different types of sources of data. The sources and types of data to be incorporated in this research to help in adequately responding to the research questions will include: Interviews: The research will rely on the use of interviews. The researcher will design fully-structured interviews and use it in collecting data from the participants. After identifying the child welfare social workers as the target population, a proportionate sample will be selected and interviewed. This will be achieved by seeking the consent of the participants, informing them about the significance of the research and eventually scheduling for an interview to directly engage them by asking comprehensive short and long questions. Computer Surveys: The use of computer surveys will be of great help in the collection of data. As a qualitatative research, it is recommended to rely on this type of data because it will help in supplementing the data collected from the interviewees. The survey will be exclusively used for gathering information on basic child welfare, stress levels, and office geographies. Focus Group: The research will also rely on the use of focus group in the gathering of data. Here, data will be collected from 10y/o or less in the agency; 10y/o or more in the agency. The data from the focus group will also be analyzed and used to provide insights on the effects of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma on the agency retention in child welfare. Possible Analytical Strategies After the collection of data, it will be analyzed. To do so, an appropriate analysis method will be applied. Qualitative research methods will be used in analyzing the data because it is a qualitative data that requires the use of a thematic analysis. A thorough analysis f the themes and patterns will help in responding to the research questions. Thematic analysis is the most appropriate tool that will have to be applied in analyzing all the data before it is eventually presented and disseminated to the target audience.   Challenges During the research, it is expected that a number of challenges will have to be encountered. First, the research might have to deal with uncooperative respondents. Since the research will involve the collection of data from the participants, it might not be possible to effectively do so since some respondents might fail to participate or deliberately choose to participate, but become reluctant to respond to the questions or give inaccurate responses. This might interfere with the validity of the findings. Besides, the researcher might encounter a difficulty in meeting all the needs. Meaning, the research might be incapacitated by the inadequacy of time and financial resources. Each of these will have to be adequately addressed lest the research fail to accomplish its objective of providing valid data to be relied upon to respond to the research questions and fill the missing gap in knowledge. References: Boyas J., Wind L., & Ruiz E. (2015). Exploring patterns of employee psychosocial outcomes among child welfare workers. Children and youth services review 52, 174-183. Choi, Ga-Young (2016) Secondary traumatic stress and empowerment among social workers working with family violence or sexual assault survivors. Journal of social work 0(0) 1-21, DOI: 10.1177/1468017316640194 Dagan S.W., Ben-Porat A., & Itzhaky H., (2016). Child protection workers dealing with child abuse: The contribution of personal, social and organizational resources to secondary traumatization. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51,   203-211 DHHS, N. I. (2013). Morbidity and Disability Among Workers 18 Years and Older in the Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector, 1997-2007. BiblioGov: department-of-health-and-human-services. Gentry J. Eric & Baranowsky Anna B., (2013).  Compassion Fatigue Treatment & Resiliency – Programs with Legs: The ARP, CFST & CF Resiliency Training Gillespie, D. F. (2/1/2013). Burnout Among Social Workers. Publisher: Taylor & Francis. Geoffrion S., Morselli C., & Guay S. (2015). Rethinking compassion fatigue through the lens of professional identity the case of child-protection workers. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 2016, Sage Publication Vol. 17(3) 270-283 DOI: 10.117/1524838015584362 McFadden P., Campbell A., & Taylor B. (2015) Resilience and Burnout in Child Protection Social Work: Individual and Organizational Themes from a Systemic Literature Review. British Journal of Social Work 45, 1546-1563 Smullens, S. M. (2013). The New Social Worker Online: The Place for Social Workers on the Net. Retrieved from What I Wish I Had Known: Burnout and Self-Care in Our Social Work Profession, 1. Salloum A., Kondrat D.C., Johnco C., & Olson K. R., (2015) The role of self-care on compassion satisfaction burnout and secondary trauma among child welfare workers. Children and Youth Services Review, 49, 54-61 Smullens, S. (2012). Clinical Social Worker MSW: The New Social Worker: The Social Work Career Magazine. What I Wish I Had Known: Burnout and Self-Care in Our Social Work Profession, 1. Smullens, S. M. (2013). The New Social Worker Online: The Place for Social Workers on the Net. Retrieved from What I Wish I Had Known: Burnout and Self-Care in Our Social Work Profession, 1. Wagaman M.A., Geiger J.M., Shockley C., & Segal E. A., (2015). The Role of Empathy in Burnout, Compassion Satisfaction, and secondary traumatic stress among social workers. Social Worker Journal Volume 60, Number 3, July 2015. Doi:10.1093/sw/swv014 Wilson, B., (2013). Educational Portal. Retrieved from The Begining of a Journey: Retrieved from

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