Experiences and implications of social workers practicing in a pediatric hospital environment affected by SARS

Health Soc Work. 2007 Feb;32(1):17-27. doi: 10.1093/hsw/32.1.17.


This phenomenological study's purpose was threefold: to detail the experiences of social workers practicing in a hospital environment affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), to describe essential themes and structures of social work practices within this crisis environment, and to explore recommendations for better preparedness to meet similar crises in the future. The sudden onset of SARS in hospital settings created an immediate necessity to study this phenomenon as hospitals and health care professionals struggle to adapt to this new epidemic environment. This study is the first using qualitative research to investigate the unique perspective of social workers in an epidemic environment. The results reflect the social workers' subjective experience of their interventions with patients and families and indicate that a number of professional tenets, such as advocacy, family-centered approach, knowledge of systems, open communication, and ethics effectively supported social work practice in a crisis environment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Hospitals, Pediatric*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Professional Role
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome* / prevention & control
  • Social Work*