Strengthening the relationships between different parties: Boundary-spanning competencies in hospital social work
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionQualitative Social Work. 2023, . 10.1177/14733250231167821
Hospital social workers advocate, facilitate and communicate with patients, families, healthcare professionals, and communities. These activities, in which hospital social workers relate to different parties and aim to strengthen relationships between them, have been referred to in the literature as boundary spanning. This study explores hospital social workers’ boundary-spanning competencies associated with their boundary- spanning activities. The data were from in-depth interviews with 19 hospital social workers in Norway. A hybrid analysis was performed, combining initial inductive coding of themes with subsequent deductive coding based upon a conceptual framework. Four themes emerged: (1) Being informed, (2) Content knowledge, (3) Tailoring and (4) Self- knowledge. The findings contribute to specifying central boundary-spanning compe- tencies. Implications of the study for social work practice and education are provided, along with recommendations for further research.