Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nephrology social work: Perspectives of social workers


  • Andrew Mantulak
  • David Nicholas
  • Hilary Nelson
  • Julisa Crocker



social workers, nephrology, renal, covid-19 pandemic, professional practice


A mixed method study utilized surveys and focus groups to explore the perceptions of nephrology social workers in Canada regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their practice with patients and their families. As part of this larger study, participants were invited to focus groups which elicited pandemic experiences, personally and professionally, and to offer post-pandemic recommendations for nephrology social work. The sample comprised 15 nephrology social workers from several Canadian provinces, who provided in-depth reflections regarding the impact of the pandemic on professional practice.

Study results reflect COVID-19 pandemic-related experiences of Canadian nephrology social workers, including psychosocial impacts as well as practice and infrastructure shifts. In providing service to patients and families, nephrology social workers were forced to confront personal, professional and organizational landscapes altered by hospital and broader societal public health guidelines aimed at decreasing the spread of COVID-19. Although an inherently challenging experience, participating social workers concurrently noted areas of growth that resulted from pandemic circumstances..