Rural agencies have unique challenges related to recruitment and retention of social workers. A systematic literature review was conducted to examine job satisfaction, burnout and turnover among rural social workers. Based on 28 included articles, results indicate: (a) rural social workers tend to be from rural areas or have completed training in rural settings; (b) poor job satisfaction predicts turnover among rural social workers; (c) rural vs. urban differences for satisfaction, burnout, intention to leave, and turnover are mixed; and (d) greater work-life balance and supervisory support increase retention among rural social workers. This study provides recommendations for informing education, policy and future research in social work practice in rural locations in the United States.

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Social Work Commons



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