Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Due to the profound restructuring and erosion of social services and social programs, health and social services have been reorganized using business models that prize efficiency and cost saving rather than client centered service. Literature on social work practice in this context highlights the pressure on practitioners to standardize their work in order to manage higher workloads and to give primacy to employing organizations’ budgetary interests, rather than the interests of clients, patients and communities. Within this regulation of practice lies the regulation of time, yet in the literature there is relatively little explicit focus on the temporal control of social workers, or on how social workers manage and negotiate institutional time controls.
This study sought to explore the intricacies of social workers’ negotiation of time pressures in health care settings. It aimed to examine how social workers perceived these time pressures, the strategies they employ to accommodate multiple demands on their time and how, in the end these time pressures influence social work practice.
A small qualitative study was employed, using personal interviews to explore the experience of social workers employed in the health care industry. Participants were chosen according to their unique experiences within the health care system. An analysis of participants’ accounts suggests that, in the face of continuous and ever present time pressures, social work in health care is changing. As case loads increase and become more complex, social workers often find themselves negotiating time in order to manage the unavoidable collision between clock time and process time.
Goyert, Stefanie, "Social Work Practice in Health Care: Time to Care?" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7361.
McMaster University Library