Compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma can be a consequence of social work practice in all contexts, including the fast-paced, crisis driven hospital environment. Four metropolitan hospitals collaborated with an academic partner to explore the understanding and awareness that hospital-based social workers have in this area, and to investigate both individual and organisational responsibility. The research utilised a Participatory Action Research methodology with Stage One being a collaboratively developed survey. The results of the survey showed that social workers’ understanding is impacted by their knowledge of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, the nature of everyday hospital practice, and the identification, provision of, and engagement in personal self-care and workplace support strategies. The findings highlighted the dual responsibility that employing hospitals and individuals have to care for themselves and each other, including the capacity for social workers to use supervision and collegial relationships to support their coping and resilience.


Social Work, Self-care, Compassion Fatigue, Vicarious Trauma, Hospital, Survey,


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