PATTERNS OF ADAPTATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS TO THE ACUTE CARE HOSPITAL
NATHANSON, ILENE LAURA
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The study investigates the adaptation of medical social workers to the acute care hospital. The Research Questions focus on the extent to which subjects perceive conflict between preconceived expecta-tions of job and realities of job; and, how variations in expectations regarding role and work environment influence adaptation.('1).;A grounded theory approach was utilized for problem formulation. A questionnaire was utilized for the investigation of the specific research questions. The sample consists of 40 M.S.W. social workers from four voluntary and three multiple hospitals in the metropolitan area.;The findings reveal three major patterns of adaptation: The type 1 pattern represents the perception of conflict between preconceived expectations for role and work environment and actual role performance/actual encounter with work environment, and the inability to reconcile conflict between expectations and realities of the job. The type 2 pattern represents the perception of conflict between preconceived expectations for role and work environment and actual role performance/actual encounter with work environment, and the ability to reconcile conflict between expectations and realities of the job. Type 3 pattern represents the perception of congruence between preconceived expectations and realities of job.;In general, the findings confirm two preliminary study assumptions: (1) the perception of conflict is widespread among acute care hospital social workers; (2) there are associations between role conception/role performance/encounter with specific factors in the work environment and variation in the adaptation patterns. Specifically, the findings reveal: (1) a direct association between a strong system orientation and the perception of congruence between expectations and realities of the job; (2) an inverse association between a narrow role conception (strong treatment emphasis, weak concrete service and system orien- tation) and ability to peaceably reconcile conflict between expectations and realities of the job; and, (3) a direct association between subjects' relationships with role set members which reflect high involvement, high professional focus, high status of.;social work and perception of congruence/ability to reconcile conflict situation.;('1)The "job" and role/work environment are used interchangeably.