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Monday, 03 November 2014

NI study examines ‘resilience and burnout’ in social work

Written by The Editorial Team

A Northern Irish social work lecturer who completed a PhD on the topic of ‘Resilience and Burnout in Child Protection Social Work’ was one of eight individuals who achieved the NI Leadership/Strategic Award at the recent NISCC PQ awards ceremony.

Dr Paula McFadden is a lecturer at the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast.

In July 2013, she completed her PhD from the University of Ulster and she submitted this piece of work as part of her Post Qualifying  requirements.

The study focussed on the social work profession in Northern Ireland, in both the statutory and voluntary sector. Dr McFadden’s current research  interest continues to be on workforce resilience and the factors that build resilience or contribute to burnout in the social work profession.

Findings from the PhD have contributed to the current Social Work Research Strategy for Northern Ireland and Dr McFadden takes part in  projects that examine building workforce capacity in preparation for the anticipated demands on the profession in the future.

The PhD study methods and subsequent findings have been presented in Australia, Canada, Italy, England, Scotland and Ireland. Dr McFadden has also conducted an international literature review in relation to ‘resilience and burnout’ and ‘retention and turnover’ in front line child protection social work with published results.

Dr McFadden is a committee member in the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers and contributes to professional matters through her involvement with the professional body.

Having qualified as a social worker in 1993, Dr McFadden’s first position was in child protection social work and she has also worked as a front line social worker for older people in the community in the Western Health and Social Care Trust area. Following a period of teaching in further and higher education, she returned to social work practice as an Integrated Services Team Manager of Older People’s Services in the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

To find out more about Dr McFadden’s research and her experience of the post qualifying study process, click here to read the full article.