Compasión y sufrimiento en la atención a la población vulnerableestudio cualitativo de la perspectiva de los/las trabajadores/as sociales de servicios sociosanitarios

  1. Ortiz Amo, Rocío
Supervised by:
  1. Ángela María Ortega Galán Director
  2. María Dolores Ruiz Fernández Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 28 June 2021

  1. Francisca María García Padilla Chair
  2. Fernando Relinque Medina Secretary
  3. José Granero Molina Committee member

Type: Thesis


Introduction: The Public Social Services System (SPSS) is overcome with demands from vulnerable people in situations of poverty, exclusion and great suffering. In turn, the lack of resources and means to offer these people is a notable fact due to the continuous cuts in social policies. In the daily practice of their work, social workers as professionals of reference, suffer the consequences of the weakening of Social Services. In addition, they face heavy workloads stemming from the large number of needy and desperate people who come to them as a last resort. This context stimulates in professionals an emotional discomfort, which generates job dissatisfaction and decreases the quality of professional life. Objective: Study the perception, experiences, emotions and feelings that Social Work professionals of the Public Social Services System have in relation to the suffering of the most vulnerable people. Methodology: This is a qualitative descriptive study with the guidance of hermeneutical phenomenology. Between January and June 2019, nine in-depth interviews and two focus group sessions were conducted. The participants were 23 social workers from Community Social Services and Health Centers in the province of Almería (Spain). For the analysis of the discourse, the Atlas.ti 8.0 software was used. Results: As a global result of the three publications, it was found: First, with regard to the Public Social Services System, professionals describe it in a state of erosion, together they highlight that it has become a mere distributor of resources. Second, the professionals exposed the difficulty that the extreme vulnerability of certain groups generates in them a series of feelings and emotions, and the need to pay more attention to those emotions and feelings that are produced from repeated contact with the suffering of the most vulnerable people. Finally, different meanings about compassion and a certain negative regard for it were detected. On the other hand, empathy is perceived as a necessary skill that is present in the relationship with the people who are served. Discussion: There is a need to orient Social Services towards a protection system that accompanies, empowers and responds to the most vulnerable people. The SPSS does not entirely favor these people, or the professionals who work in it. As a consequence of this, the quality of life and emotional well-being of these professionals is being affected. Likewise, they are unaware that compassion can act as protective factors, in the face of the consequences generated by a stressful work context. Therefore, it would be necessary to develop intervention programs with Social Work professionals that integrate these elements.