The social work hat as a metaphor for social work professional identity

Journal article


Natasha, Long, Suzanne, Hodgkin, Fiona, Gardner and Jennifer, Lehmann. (2018). The social work hat as a metaphor for social work professional identity. Advances in Social Work and Welfare Education. 20(2), pp. 115-128.
AuthorsNatasha, Long, Suzanne, Hodgkin, Fiona, Gardner and Jennifer, Lehmann
Abstract

The landscape of the human service sector in Australia has changed over the past 20 years. The current context creates a sense of uncertainty around the role of the professional knowledge and skills of social workers. The risk of losing a distinct social work professional identity means discussion about the purpose and identity of social work is vital particularly for those new to the profession. This paper explores using the metaphor of a social work hat to foster understanding of social work identity. It draws on research findings using constructivist grounded theory, with 12 newly qualified social work graduates interviewed twice over an 18-month period. The process of social work professional identity development was experienced as a complex process and participants initially struggled to articulate this; however, the metaphorical social work hat enabled participants to talk about their social work professional identity more meaningfully. This paper explains the development of this metaphor as it evolved in the research, and suggests how it can be used to generate rich conversations about social work professional identity.

Keywordsprofessional identity; social work hat; social work graduates; metaphor
Year2018
JournalAdvances in Social Work and Welfare Education
Journal citation20 (2), pp. 115-128
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
ISSN1329-0584
Web address (URL)https://search.informit.org/doi/abs/10.3316/INFORMIT.032501606690887
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range115-128
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online2018
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Jun 2021
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