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The Retention of Social Workers in the Health Services: An Evidence-Based Assessment

Redmond, Bairbre, Guerin, Suzanne, Nolan, Brian, Devitt, Catherine and Egan, Arlene (2010) The Retention of Social Workers in the Health Services: An Evidence-Based Assessment. Project Report. UCD. (Unpublished)

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The Implementation Plan for the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (2009), better known as the Ryan Report, identified the retention of social workers in Irish child care as problematic, with child protection teams experiencing a higher turnover of social workers than in other areas. The Implementation Plan went on to recommend that the Health Service Executive (HSE) undertake research
into staff retention issues in social work [Action 54] and also arrange for exit interviews with personnel leaving child protection and residential care in order to better understand issues of staff retention [Action 84]

While the design of this research study pre-dates these important recommendations, it comprehensively encompasses the key issues raised in the Ryan Report on social work retention in Irish child care services. As well as researching the aspirations of social work students across Ireland in regard to their forthcoming social work careers, the study has also now completed in-depth on-line assessment
with 182 practising social workers within the HSE. These on-line assessments have explored the social workers’ attitudes to their work, the positive and negative aspects of their job, and their coping strategies through work engagement and burnout scales. A number of the professional social workers who participated in the on-line phase of the research also contributed to in-depth focus groups or
telephone interviews which allowed for a further qualitative exploration of the issues arising from the questionnaire data. The study has also explored and analysed the current data held by the HSE on job mobility.

The collection and analysis of the data from the completed questionnaires, the focus groups and interviews have also drawn on the research team’s previous work in the area. They have completed a fiveyear longitudinal study (2002-2007) funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) which assessed the training and practice experiences of a cohort of 35 social work graduates from UCD’s Masters in Social Work programme (Redmond et al., 2008). The team had also examined job satisfaction and job mobility among another cohort of 75 Irish social workers who started their professional social work careers between 1998 and 2001. This research has produced valuable data on the levels of positive and negative experiences of both recently qualified and more experienced social workers operating in the Irish health services (Guerin et al., 2010).

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > Child Protection
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ni Mhaicin
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 15:22
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 09:09

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