Date of Conferral
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Social work supervision is a core component of the social work profession that is often absent for social workers in interprofessional teams. In capital defense practice settings, social workers are hired as mitigation specialists to work as members of the legal team. Informed by systems theory, the purpose of this action research study was to explore the practice challenges of social work mitigation specialists (SWMS) and how an interprofessional-focused supervision approach could be applied to resolve those issues. Six SWMS employed with capital defense agencies in Georgia and Texas were interviewed. Using a thematic coding analysis, several key themes emerged: (a) role navigation, (b) ethical dilemmas as practice challenges, (c) increased competence, and (d) team cohesion as dynamics that will improve with the implementation of an interprofessional-focused supervision approach. These findings provide understanding as to how supervision can be tailored to guide SWMS and other social workers in interprofessional settings. Recommendations for future research involve developing supervision guidelines for social work practice in interprofessional settings. Adhering to these suggestions might provide insight as to how interprofessional teams can work collaboratively, improving practice approaches and interventions to alter systems of service delivery and client outcomes. This provides the opportunity to effect social change by impacting individual practitioners and clients, as well as organizations, systems, and from a political perspective.