THE DYING PROCESS: IMPACT ON THE SOCIAL WORKER
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Based on direct practice and supervisory experience with families and children coping with leukemia, the study begins with the conviction that working with the terminally ill has a special impact on the social worker, and this impact needs to be addressed.;To shape approaches to this study, the writer utilized her work experience and some preliminary investigations which included a pilot study, a staff seminar and interviews with two social work department representatives involved with terminal patients.;As a consequence, four study issues emerged which included: (1) The nature of the affective impact on social workers who work with terminality. (2) The nature of the knowledge gaps that workers experience on a terminal service. (3) The difference in work experience between workers in acute and oncology settings. (4) The nature of collegial exchange and supportive systems for those who service terminal patients.;An exploratory design was selected to investigate the impact of the supervisory process pertaining to service delivery to oncology patients. Six institutions agreed to participate in the study, four acute hospitals and two oncology settings. The survey method was used to collect and analyze data obtained from line worker's responses to a self-administered questionnaire. Content analysis was the method used to collect and analyze the data obtained from supervisors who responded in an in-person interview where an interview guide was utilized.;The findings indicated that: (1) Oncology social workers have difficulty with the affective content related to terminality. (2) They experience a knowledge gap in death education. (3) In an oncology setting, the social worker has more support and death education than the worker in the acute setting. (4) Oncology social workers turn to their colleagues for solace and support when confronted with the issues involved with death and dying.;In response to the findings, the writer made these recommendations: (1) Death education should be integrated in the graduate social work education curriculum. (2) The oncology model should be utilized for training social workers to work with terminal patients. (3) Orientation programs should be offered to new workers assigned to oncology services. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of author.) UMI.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 46-03, Section: A, page: 7920.