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Author Baldwin, Suzanne Meredith
Title The professional identity of the newborn intensive care social worker
book jacket
Descript 228 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-01, Section: A, page: 0285
Director: Marcia Harrigan
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Virginia Commonwealth University, 2002
This exploratory study provides the first national study of Newborn Intensive Care social workers' professional identity framed by role theory. The study uses Summers' (1999) definition of professional identity which includes values, behaviors, and thoughts of the social worker. Using random selection, 314 hospitals identified to have Neonatal Intensive Care Units were selected and a survey was sent to the "NICU Social Worker." One hundred twenty-two NICU social workers responded, yielding a return rate of 39%. Based on an extensive literature review from an historical perspective of health care social work, several facets of professional identity were chosen for exploration. These included ethics, job satisfaction, and social work tasks. Over 90% of the respondents had earned a degree in social work (78% of the respondents were MSW prepared), 30% belonged to the profession's primary professional organization (the National Association of Social Workers), and 75.4% held a professional license. Ethical decision-making processes, job functions (the frequency and importance of multiple generic and NICU specific tasks), and job satisfaction were explored using a regression model. Task frequency and importance were closely correlated but the frequency of completing a task did not contribute to professional identity in a regression model. The importance of task completion was associated with increased professional identity. Newborn Intensive Care social workers indicated that they had an equal voice in decision-making with other professionals and this also was associated with professional identity. Other indicators of potential ethical conflict were not significant. Job satisfaction was not associated with professional identity in this study
Future research is needed to understand the professional identity of NICU social workers, a prerequisite to measuring the effectiveness of social work intervention. Neonatology, one of the newest medical subspecialties, provides an opportunity for social workers to make a significant impact when working with high-risk families in a sophisticated technological environment
School code: 2383
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 64-01A
Subject Social Work
Alt Author Virginia Commonwealth University
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