Hanne Glemmestad (Fellesorganisasjonen (FO) – The Norwegian Union of Social Educators and Social Workers)
Topic: Status and position of social work perspectives and expertise within various parts of the health and welfare services
Name of the Co-authors:
Andreas Kikvik, Fellesorganisasjonen (FO) – The Norwegian Union of Social Educators and Social Workers
Thematic area: Professionalisation of Social Work
In the workshop, we will review some key developments for the social work professions within the health services in Norway in the last few years. We will then invite the participants to a conversation and exchange of experiences around the following questions:
– Are social work perspectives on central social problems in society about to be replaced by more individualistic, health professional perspectives?
– What role and function should the social work professions have within healthcare work fields such as somatic, psychiatry and substance abuse treatment?
– How to counteract social problems being redefined as individual health problems that are diagnosed, treated, and solved by “repairing” the individual?
Over time, FO has been concerned about a disturbing development in terms of the lack of use of social work and social work expertise in today’s health and welfare services. We, therefore, got Nord University to do a research project with the following research questions:
-What is the status and position of social work perspectives and expertise within various parts of the health and welfare services in today’s Norwegian society, how has this developed over recent years, and what factors have contributed to such a development?
Nord University investigated both the social services (NAV), child protection and the substance abuse and psychiatric services. In this workshop, we will emphasize the findings from the field of substance abuse and psychiatry. The study shows that social work is still carried out in the mental health and substance abuse services, but social work is not very visible either in the public guidance or in the professional conversations in the services. FO argues that when social work is not brought forward, there is a danger that social work competence becomes unclear and that its importance is underestimated.