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Friday, June 19 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
Resilience in Service Providers - Orit Nuttman Shwartz, Leigh Blaney, Paula McFadden

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Resilience in Service Providers:

Abstract #137
Shared Resilience in a Traumatic Reality: A New Concept for Trauma Workers Exposed Personally and Professionally to Collective Disaster
Presenter: Orit Nuttman Shwartz
Shared Traumatic Reality are those situations in which clients and therapists are exposed to the same collective disaster, whether natural or man-made. In these situations, everyone has been exposed to the same traumatic event which threatens their own lives and the lives of people who are close to them (e.g., war, terror attacks, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes). To date, the studies dealing with STR have focused on the negative consequences.  Thus, in this presentation we will propose a new concept, shared resilience in a traumatic reality (SRTR). Based on literature that emphasizes the positive effects of exposure to traumatic events for workers in this field, this concept examines the ability of trauma workers to cope, to show resilience, and to grow as a result of the mutual relationship with their clients. The new concept highlights the importance of empathic mutual aid relationships, which are a basic component for promoting resilience in a shared traumatic reality. The relative nature of shared resilience will be discussed, bearing in mind that resilience can be manifested as emotions, behaviors, and conceptions. Various findings relating to shared resilience in traumatic situations will be reviewed, and recommendations for research, practice, and policy will be offered.

Abstract #157
Firefighter Resilience: An Interdisciplinary Pilot Study
Presenter: Leigh Blaney
This mixed methods study, conducted by researchers from Canada and England in collaboration with four fire rescue services (FRS), explored Canadian and UK firefighters’ experiences of distress, coping and resilience related to workplace traumatic events. Questions addressed in the research included:  Are firefighters resilient?  How do firefighters define resilience? Does stress education enhance/sustain resilience?   Research outcomes include: a variety of diverse and intricate definitions for resilience reflecting the complexity of the concept of resilience yet demonstrating cultural commonalities across both countries; a range of reactions to critical incidents that generally fell into one or more domains:  emotional, cognitive, physical, behavioural, and ‘spiritual’;  a range of strategies that are implemented to cope with stress reactions - overwhelmingly ‘talking’ about the incident, reactions, and  coping mechanisms is most helpful; personal and organizational attributes that assist in managing stress and stressful events within the culture of the fire service; and health promoting strategies for building resilience. The study recommendations, utilizing a health promotion lens, offer guidance in planning for, and responding to, traumatic events in high-risk professions.”

Abstract #227
Resilience and Burnout in Child Protection Social Work
Presenter: Paula McFadden
Child protection is a stressful occupation that can result in burnout and job exit for some social workers. The concern for organisations relate to attrition resulting in low levels of experience in teams which impacts on working conditions for the remaining staff. This paper will focus on the impact of relationships at work with emphasis on the role of relational factors in contributing to a positive or negative experience that impacts on staff resilience or burnout. Qualitative data was gathered from employees of the five Health and Social Care Trusts and a voluntary sector child protection service in Northern Ireland. Interviews were conducted with 15 social workers who have left their jobs in child protection (for positive and negative reasons) and 15 who had remained in post. The Stayers were in post at a range of career stages from newly qualified to more than 11 years’ experience.  Both ‘Leavers’ and’ Stayers’ had common experiences of the work, including manager and team relationships, workload, organizational culture and climate as well as a perception of excessive bureaucracy. Some Stayers’ reported job satisfaction despite the pressures and Leavers reported leaving despite team camaraderie. The paper argues for ameliorative interventions to enable the manager to support and nurture positive relationships and cohesive teams.


Leigh Blaney

Leigh Blaney is a professor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Vancouver Island University with teaching responsibilities focused on undergraduate education in mental health, healing, and inter-professional communication. Leigh is the clinical coordinator of the Archipelago... Read More →
avatar for Orit Nuttman Shwartz

Orit Nuttman Shwartz

Prof., Sapir College, israel
Prof. Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, MSW, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Founder and first Head of the School of Social Work at Sapir College in Israel. Her research focuses on personal and social trauma, life transitions and crises and social work education. Working near the border, she has been... Read More →
avatar for Paula McFadden

Paula McFadden

Lecturer in Social Work, Queens University Belfast
Dr McFadden has practiced in child protection and older people’s social work and recently has been an integrated services delivery manager for older people and vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland. The research into resilience in front line child protection social work was inspired... Read More →

Friday June 19, 2015 10:30am - 12:00pm EDT
KTS Lecture Hall NAB 2nd Floor, King's College

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