Is Social Work Still a Distinctive Profession? Students, Supervisors and Educators Reflect

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Noble, Carolyn and O'Sullivan, Justine (2009) Is Social Work Still a Distinctive Profession? Students, Supervisors and Educators Reflect. Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education, 11 (1). pp. 89-107. ISSN 1329-0584


Many social workers are finding themselves in practice settings where they are competing with an increasing number of allied professionals for recognition, service provision and funding. The rise in multifunctional approaches to the delivery of social and health care provisions as well as the gradual privatisation of welfare services is creating further challenges for social workers. This article reports on a research project undertaken with social work students, supervisors and educators in an Australian university which aimed to explore whether social work still had a distinctiveness in this climate and whether it was up to the challenges it was facing. While the sample is small and generalisations are limited, results from this study feed into concerns already identified in the literature which suggest that social workers need to become more proactive in responding to the current challenges in order to keep their practice distinctive, as well as reflective, responsive and relevant.

Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords ResPubID18528, social work, social change, role challenges
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