The Barriers to a Voluntary Professional Assistance Program for Impaired Collegues in Rhode Island

Courtney Dillon, Providence College

Type Article

A project based on independent investigation, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Originally written for the Theory Practice Seminar, Providence College, 2009.


Social workers are susceptible to mental illness, stress and substance abuse. A review of the literature suggests impairment can negatively effect clients served as well as the image of the social work profession. These impaired colleagues rarely seek help and often go unidentified by their colleagues. A professional assistance program could provide knowledge and resources for these impaired social workers. However, Rhode Island National Association of Social Workers does not have a professional assistance program. A convenience sample of Providence College senior social work majors (n=10) as well as social work practitioners supervising Providence College senior interns (n=18) was utilized to determine the perception of the necessity of a voluntary professional assistance program in Rhode Island. Findings suggest there is a significant need for such a program to be implemented in Rhode Island.