[Note: Below is an excerpt from an article in the most recent issue of the journal Health & Social Work, co-published by NASW and Oxford University Press. The article was written by Christine M. Rine, PhD, associate professor, Department of Social Work, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. This article is free to be read on the Oxford University Press website.]
The challenges faced by social workers during the pandemic are far-reaching and unique to each of us. As a profession, social work has been confronted with an increase in mental, behavioral, and physical health concerns among those with whom we work; overwhelming job demands that carry the expectation of maintaining productivity while adapting to physical distancing protocols; rising social inequities; a worldwide atmosphere suffused in complex grief; anxieties about personal safety and that of our loved ones; expanding responsibilities in caring for children and other family members; and the innumerable ethical dilemmas that come with this intricate combination of obligations (McClain, 2020). It is certainly no wonder that social worker wellness, work–life balance, and self-care feel monumentally difficult to consider, no less to achieve. The pressure to do so can in itself be experienced as just another unreachable expectation or chore rather than a benefit. The familiar airline instructions “Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others” come to mind. Yet, these routine safety precautions fall short as we should not wait for the unexpected, emergency situations or global pandemics to employ self-care strategies. The importance of wellness has long been a consistent part of our training and continual professional development that is supported by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2021) Code of Ethics as professional responsibility to ensure ethical practice (Downing et al., 2021).…
To read the whole article, please follow this link.
The journal Social Work is a benefit of NASW membership. It is available online or, at a member’s request, in print. Children & Schools, Health & Social Work and Social Work Research are available by subscription at a discounted rate for NASW members, either online or in print. You can find out more about the journals and subscriptions at this link.