Self-care and supervision for Social Workers in health

Ms Tracey Turner1

1Tasmanian Health Service, Hobart, Australia

Social Work Services, Tasmanian Health Service (South) is a team of approximately 50 staff including Social Workers, Health Liaison Officers, Social Work Assistant and Administrative staff. As our team has grown and the demands of work increase in both the acute and community setting, staff are inevitably impacted.  Social Work in itself is vulnerable to vicarious trauma simply due to the nature of the work undertaken including responding to serious trauma, death and dying, relationship breakdown, vulnerability, abuse and neglect.  This is compounded by the current work environment with increasing complexity of patient/client presentations in both acute and community settings and pressure around patient discharge and reducing length of stay within the acute care system.  Throughout 2016 – 2017 the Social Work service has concertedly focused upon staff self-care and well being with a range of strategies including revision of supervision processes, open dialogue around self-care, a renewed focus upon clinical priorities and core business, an emphasis on supporting colleagues and other health and well-being initiatives. Data will be presented on recent whole of service training undertaken in the area of supervision and self-care whereby pre-and post training surveys were administered. In addition, data will be presented from an internal survey of the Social Work team earlier this year regarding staff supervision and self-care.


Tracey Turner is currently the Acting Discipline Lead for Social Work Services within the Tasmanian Health Service (South).  She has worked as a Social Worker/Manager in health and human service organisations for the past 19 years and at the Royal Hobart Hospital for 14 years.  Tracey has a keen interest in staff and student supervision and is currently undertaking post graduate studies in Leadership in Health and Human services.

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