Social workers’ professional burnout and prevention directions

Galina Majboroda

Abstract


 The article considers the problem of social workers’ professional burnout. The main theoretical approaches to the definition of the concept «professional burnout» are found. The author summarizes that professional burnout is the state of emotional, mental and psychophysical exhaustion determined by the conditions of professional activity, excessive working load and emotional interpersonal communication. Long exposure of stressful situations may cause a specialist professional burnout. A number of research works have shown that social workers and similar professionals are at considerable risk of experiencing burnout. Professional deformation gradually develops and often causes negative and even aggressive attitude to the clients, it forces occurrence of one-sided communication by means of criticism, evaluation, pressure which makes both parties, social workers and clients, suffer. The phenomenon of professional burnout has destructive character and influences negatively not only the activity of a social worker, but his personality as well. Diagnostic tests revealed that a third of respondents feel uncertainty in their professional knowledge, skills, frustration chosen profession. The main factors, which can cause professional burnout: the person’s individual peculiar features, working conditions, stressful situations at the working place; necessity to perform actions that are not functional responsibilities of the social worker; congestion of documentation and preparation of various reports; performance of unexpected and unplanned tasks that need urgent attention and a lot of energy; lack of encouragement, support from the head. The symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion and as a result professional burnout symptoms have been classified in the present paper (emotional, mental, behavioral, and physiological). The author defines the possible ways and strategic directions of preventing the social workers’ professional burnout (personal and professional) and the main preventive methods in each direction.


Keywords


professional burnout; symptoms and reasons of social workers’ professional burnout; professional burnout prevention directions

References


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