Burnout among Social Workers in Mafikeng, North West Province
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of burnout among social workers in Mafikeng, North West Province. The study took into cognisance factors contributing to burnout, its effects, as well as alleviative and preventative strategies. Burnout is regarded as one of the detrimental problems faced by most social service providers globally. It has an adverse effect on the functionality of social workers in performing their roles in the most effective and efficient manner, which subsequently, has a detrimental effect on their professional development and general well-being. According to Compton , Galaway and Cournoyer (2005: 491 ), social workers are regarded as being at high risk for burnout. Meyerson (cited by Compton et al. , 2005: 491) notes that "social workers face ambiguity in their technologies (e .g. talking to clients), their goals (e .g. to provide empathy and caring), their evaluation criteria (e .g. sensitivity) and occupational boundaries (e.g. who is and is not a social worker)". Social workers often enter the profession with an idealized sense of mission to help others and yet they must work within sometimes, severe bureaucratic constrains (Compton et al ., 2005: 491 ); heavy workloads and demanding care giving responsibilities and as a results become vulnerable to burnout (Landy and Conte, 2007: 428). In response to the situation faced by social workers in Mafikeng, a research project was undertaken with the purpose of exploring and describing the burnout phenomenon among social workers in Mafikeng, North West Province inclusive of its causes, effects, as well as the alleviative and preventative strategies that can be implemented to address the manifestation of burnout among social workers. A qualitative approach was employed following an explorative-descriptive research design. The study was conducted with social workers at the Department of Social Development, Department Correctional Services and the Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA), in Mafikeng, North West Province. A sample of participants was selected using purposive sampling technique from a population of social workers working at the Department of Social Development, Department of Correctional Services and FAMSA in Mafikeng. Data was analysed using Tesch's framework for data analysis and Guba's model was employed for data verification. The research findings indicate that burnout is a serious problem being faced by most social workers in Mafikeng, North West Province. It was stated that burnout has a detrimental effect on the professional development and general well-being of social workers in Mafikeng. According to the research participants, its causes include lack of resources, high workload, role ambiguity, lack of training and professional development, as well as low incentives, inter alia. It was further highlighted that burnout affects the smooth and efficient running of the organisation towards goal accomplishment, which subsequently, impair on the quality of care and services rendered to clients.
- Humanities