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Distinctions Between Rural, Northern And Remote Social Work

2001 words - 9 pages

Glen Schmidt (2000) demonstrated characteristics of Northern social work (p.4). Schmidt (2000) distinguished the Indigenous definition of the north as home, a welcoming place to live. In contrast to the western perspective, which is based on European settlement and includes the north being a, harsh wild that can be used for a resource-based economy (p.4). I believe that defining northern is dependent on who is defining it. I believe that defining north is relative. Considering that I live in Edmonton, people who living in southern Alberta consider Edmonton north. Also there are people who live very north such as the hamlet of Grise Fiord. Should Grise Fiord be considered north? I reiterate ...view middle of the document...

He continues to explain the challenges the women in northern communities endure such as family stress of sole parenting as well as isolation. Climate also contributes to strain of isolation as many people stay indoors while weather is too harsh.
Schmidt (2000) demonstrated the challenges in the social work field. He discussed that in northern social work is there a high rate of staff turn over. He affirmed that because social work practice was established in urban area, it doesn’t fit the northern context. He elaborated that social work practitioners are not fitting the northern context and therefore not successful in their work (p.8). Schmidt (2000) articulated the “fish bowl” circumstance where the community critically watches social workers and if a negative experience happens then it significantly affects the relationships between the social worker and the community (p.10). Challenges that are apparent in northern communities face are that due to historical social work being practice through colonial means, social workers appear to be not trusted by the communities that they practice (Schmidt 2000 p.11). This creates barriers in building relationships with community members.
Similarities between rural and northern social work consist of the lack of resources as stated above. In northern social work not only are resources scarce but also expensive. Social workers in the north provide supports to people who are experiencing, emotional strain from resource based economy along with financial stress due to the high living costs. Similarities that both rural and northern social work possesses are the struggle of social work being established as an urban practice. Social workers need to be aware of the impact of person in environment, which involves provided services to people in the environment to which they live. If a social worker is providing services based on an urban model I believe that they are not fully serving their clients. A similarity that is apparent in both rural and northern communities is isolation. Due to space and distances people in both rural and northern communities are impacted by isolation. Isolation is a factor that socials workers who work in there areas need to be aware of. Another similarity between rural and northern social work is, because of the lack of available services, social workers will work as a generalist, which includes fulfilling multiple roles. Both authors Schmidt (2008) and Green (2014) both mention dual and multiple relationships as a prominent factor in rural and northern communities. Both Schmidt (2008) and Green (2014) recount the struggle that social worker endure because social workers live and work in their communities it is very easy for unclear ethical situations to happen while working with clients. A further similarity between rural and northern social work is the relationship style that is built in the communities. Rural and northern communities are described to be very close and build...

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