Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McCaslin, Rosemary


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit social workers are a particularly vulnerable group of professionals due to their chronic exposure to trauma. Current research has overlooked how social workers specifically can adopt certain strategies and coping mechanisms to prevent the symptoms associated with primary trauma, secondary trauma stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Thus, the study that follows was designed to explore the strategies and coping mechanisms utilized by NICU and PICU social workers. Data for this project was collected through the use of open-ended questions in an electronic survey format and analyzed through a conventional content analysis approach. Seven participants fully completed the survey and thus only their responses were considered in the analysis. Results of this study indicate the need for NICU and PICU social workers to gain additional education and training on primary trauma, secondary trauma stress, compassion fatigue and burnout so that they can actively participate in prevention. NICU and PICU social workers reported a range of strategies and coping mechanisms including the awareness of personal and professional barriers, consultation, exercise, among others. This study provides crucial information to an understudied area of research, provides a foundation for future research, and promotes the use of positive strategies and coping mechanisms by NICU and PICU social workers so that they can continue to provide the best services possible for the patients they serve.

Included in

Social Work Commons