UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

How we came to stay : narratives of social workers in remote northern regions of British Columbia Pierce, Joanna


This research explores the unfolding process of how four social workers living and working in remote northern British Columbia, chose to stay. Social work practice in rural, remote, and northern areas is a topic that has been widely explored in the literature. To date, efforts to increase recruitment and retention of social workers to these areas remain a concern and researchers continue to investigate aspects of practice in these regions. Previous exposure to life in the north is noted in the literature as one feature that supports workers with their transition, or commitment to, a northern location and therefore increases the likelihood a worker may stay longer-term (Cameron, 2010). In response to the need to understand how some social workers come to remain in remote northern place (Graham et al., 2008; Zapf, 2009), this study is completed applying narrative inquiry. Departing somewhat from current research focused on elements of job satisfaction, this research approaches the topic area through concepts of spatiality and how people come to bond with, and attach to, particular places, eventually identifying such places as ‘home’. The four narrated stories of remote northern social work in this thesis provide a different way in which to understand remote northern social work; one that reveals details of the process of coming to stay in a new manner.

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