Coping with the Obligation Dilemma: Prototypes of Social Workers in the Nursing Home

Sagit Lev, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We examined the ways in which the social worker is coping with obligation dilemma in an Israeli nursing home. The research was conducted using semi-structured, in-depth interviews carried out with fifteen social workers employed in nursing homes. The interviews were analysed thematically, using constant comparisons. The three themes were concerned with the social worker's place in the nursing home, her relationship with the management and staff, and her coping with the obligation dilemma. These themes highlighted the difference between the interviewees. On the background of this difference, four prototypes of nursing home's social workers were defined: the managerial, the contented, the fighter and the frustrated. From analysing the findings, the significant place of the personal and environmental factors that influence the ways in which the social worker deals with these four themes emerges. Our findings suggest that the strengthening, empowerment and support of social workers in institutions can directly enhance the health, security, emotional well-being and quality of life of nursing home residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1318-1335
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • Ethics
  • nursing home
  • older people
  • social work


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