“Self-Care for Social Workers; A precise Commodity, An Ethical Imperative” written by Lynda Monk features in the British Columbia Association of Social Workers January 2011 publication of ‘Perspectives’.
This article was more a reflective piece, rather than an evidence based research article. It provides the reader with opportunities to consider the purpose of self-care in social work and to examine how we can ensure that as a profession we become more self-caring.
Monk argues that self-care is an ethical imperative in social work, as stress can result in burnout and what she calls “compassion fatigue”. This articles makes the reader consider the challenge of supporting clients without first caring for your own needs. Monk argues that social workers are healing agents and that in order to do this we must strive to prevent the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual impacts of stress.
This article also raises the point that this is a systemic issue that needs to be dealt with on a number of levels. We must advocate for ourselves as a profession. The impact of high workloads, lack of supervision and role ambiguity is not just on a few individuals, but on the profession as a whole. Employers need to recognise the role they play in the emotional well-being of their workers, and this is an issue that must be highlighted by both unions and professional associations.
What are the ways that people feel we can improve self-care in the social work profession? Both on an individual level and as a group as a whole?