Journal Article

Have Communication Technologies Influenced Rural Social Work Practice?

Keith Brownlee, John R. Graham, Esther Doucette, Nicole Hotson and Glenn Halverson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 2, pages 622-637
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp010
Have Communication Technologies Influenced Rural Social Work Practice?

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Recent advances in communication technologies have the capacity for addressing many of the challenges identified with rural and remote social work practice, such as scarcity of professional resources, professional isolation and limited access to supervision and professional development. The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study was to examine how developments in communication technologies have influenced the way social workers practise social work in rural and remote Canadian areas. In-depth interviews were conducted with thirty-seven clinicians. The findings suggested that having access to communication resources, such as the internet, Telehealth and Telepsychiatry, appears to be positively addressing some issues of rural and northern practice. While the role of communication technologies could be further developed as a means of addressing some of the limitations of distance and fewer professional resources in these areas, it simultaneously risks imposing an urban-centric bias upon social work practice in rural and remote communities.

Keywords: Communication technology; rural social work; remote communities

Journal Article.  5663 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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