Emotions, feelings, and experiences of social workers while attending to vulnerable groups: a qualitative approach

Ruiz-Fernández, María Dolores ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6454-4723, Ortiz-Amo, Rocío ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2058-7964, Andina-Díaz, Elena ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9687-1967, Fernández-Medina, Isabel María ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0805-1542, Hernández-Padilla, José Manuel ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5032-9440, Fernández-Sola, Cayetano ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1721-0947 and Ortega-Galán, Ángela María (2021) Emotions, feelings, and experiences of social workers while attending to vulnerable groups: a qualitative approach. Healthcare, 9 (1) , e87. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2227-9032 [Article] (doi:10.3390/healthcare9010087)

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Social workers in the community setting are in constant contact with the suffering experienced by the most vulnerable individual. Social interventions are complex and affect social workers’ emotional well-being. The aim of this study was to identify the emotions, feelings, and experiences social workers have while attending to individuals in situations of vulnerability and hardship. A qualitative methodology based on hermeneutic phenomenology was used. Six interviews and two focus group sessions were conducted with social workers from the community social services and health services of the Andalusian Public Health System in the province of Almería (Spain). Atlas.ti 8.0 software was used for discourse analysis. The professionals highlighted the vulnerability of certain groups, such as the elderly and minors, people with serious mental problems, and people with scarce or no economic resources. Daily contact with situations of suffering generates a variety of feelings and emotions (anger, sadness, fear, concern). Therefore, more attention should be paid to working with the emotions of social workers who are exposed to tense and threatening situations. Peer support, talking, and discussions of experiences are pointed out as relevant by all social workers. Receiving training and support (in formal settings) in order to learn how to deal with vulnerable groups could be positive for their work and their professional and personal quality of life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article belongs to the Special Issue Qualitative Health Research Applied to Clinical and Educational Settings)
Keywords (uncontrolled): social worker, vulnerability, social and health care setting, qualitative research
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Adult, Child and Midwifery
Item ID: 31852
Notes on copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 08:49
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2021 08:48
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/31852

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