Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Kari Fletcher

Abstract

In the past years, the utilization of hospice has increased greatly from previous years and is expected to only increase. This increase is not only found in urban communities but in rural communities as well. Previous research exemplifies that professional boundaries can be different in rural communities than in urban communities. This research set out to explore how rural hospice social workers maintain professional boundaries through eight (n=8) semi-structured interviews. The findings, developed through an open-coding process, included the following themes: the rural community and the grocery store experience, maintaining professional boundaries, and methods to helping professional boundaries. These themes aligned with previous research but participants added depth and understanding to the limited research. More research needs to be performed in the area of rural hospice social work as professionals are left with very little guidelines.

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