Ethical dilemmas of everyday rural life: How do professionals balance living and working in rural and remote Australia
MetadataShow full item record
For many professionals, postings to rural and regional communities bring a range of challenges for practice and particular ethical dilemmas. There are particular characteristics of rural communities that present challenges for retention of staff, including isolation and distance, practical difficulties of travel in more remote areas, lack of services and supports, entrenched community relationships and culture, the complexities of dual relationships, and lack of educational and work opportunities for family members. In particular the complexity of living and working in small communities raises many ethical dilemmas around confidentiality, privacy, and juggling relationships across both professional and private spheres. This paper reports findings from an Australian Research Council funded three year study of professionals working in such communities and having a statutory component to their roles. The study included teachers, police, social workers and health professionals who are required to act within legislative requirements such as notification of child abuse, mental health regulation, policing and corrections. The paper will report on findings from an on-line survey (n≠ 900) and in depth interviews (n=14) with a range of professionals in rural Australia. Differences across professional groups, years of experience and professional education will be highlighted and particular strategies employed to resolve ethical dilemmas associated with this work will be explored.
Proceedings of Inter-Disciplinary.Net 3rd Global Conference
Social Work not elsewhere classified