Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Bernadette Moorhead

Dr Bernadette Moorhead

Bernadette has been an academic at CSU since 2010. Prior to academia, Bernadette worked in the non-government sector in the fields of disability, school counselling, generalist counselling, community education and community development.

Bernadette has a strong professional and research interest in the support and development needs of newly qualified social workers.

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Bernadette has taught a range of subjects in the discipline of social work and human services, including communication, grief and loss, fields of practice, case management, international social development and social policy.

Bernadette currently teaches in social work theory and practice subjects and workplace learning (field placement).

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The title of Bernadette's doctoral thesis, completed in 2017, is: The lived experience of professional identity: A year-long study with newly qualified social workers. A methodology consisting of hermeneutic phenomenology and critical social work theory was utilised to explore how seventeen new social workers sustained and developed professional identity during the initial stages of their career. A range of factors impacted lived experience, including individual commitment to learning and development, meaningful relationships, access to professional development activities, and being recognised and valued as social workers, no matter their job title.

Research interests include:

  • Professional identity in social work
  • Frameworks for graduate support and development
  • Social work education, field placement (workplace learning)
  • Study abroad and international study programs in social work
  • Phenomenology and critical research methodology

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  • Moorhead, B. (2017). The lived experience of professional identity: A year-long study with newly qualified social workers (Doctoral dissertation)Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
  • Moorhead, B. (2008). The social work response to the situation of asylum seekers in detention (Bachelor of social work honours dissertation). Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Journal Publications

  • Moorhead, B. Sustaining professional identity during the initial post-qualification period: Implications for retention strategies. International Social Work [Advance online publication]. doi:10.1177/0020872819836703
  • Moorhead, B., Bell, K., Jones-Mutton, T., Boetto, H., & Bailey, R. (2019). Preparation for practice: Embedding the development of professional identity within social work curriculum. Social Work Education [Advance online publication], 1-13. doi:10.1080/02615479.2019.1595570
  • Moorhead, B. (2019). Transition and adjustment to professional identity as a newly qualified social worker. Australian Social Work [Advance online publication], 1-13. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2018.1558271
  • Moorhead, B. (2018). A landscape of interesting discourses: Navigating professional identity as a newly qualified social worker. Critical Social Work, 19(2), 22-37.
  • Moorhead, B., Bell, K. & Bowles, W. (2016). Exploring the development of professional identity with Newly Qualified Social Workers. Australian Social Work, 69(4), 456-467. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2016.1152588.
  • Bell, K., Moorhead, B., & Boetto, H. (2015). Social work students' reflections on gender, social justice and human rights during a short-term study programme to India. International Social Work. doi:10.1177/0020872814559559.
  • Boetto, H., Moorhead, B., & Bell, K. (2014). Broadening the 'Environment' in Social Work: Impacts of a Study Abroad Program. Critical Social Work, 15(1), 1-17.
  • Moorhead, B., Boetto, H., & Bell, K. (2013). India and Us: Student Development of Professional Social Work Identity through a Short-term Study Abroad Program. Social Work Education, 1-15. doi:10.1080/02615479.2013.768614.
  • Johnson, S., & Moorhead, B. (2011). Social Eugenics Practices With Children in Hitler's Nazi Germany and the Role of Social Work: Lessons for Current Practice. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, 8(1). Retrieved from
  • Moorhead, B., & Johnson, S. (2010). An Ethical Practice Dilemma Involving a New Social Work Graduate: Implications for Social Work Practice. Practice: Social Work in Action, 22(1). 45 – 53.

Book Chapters

  • Mlcek, S., Moorhead, B., Morrissey, J., & Norris, G. (2014). Chapter 1: Communication and learning; two sides of the same coin. In S. Mlcek, B. Moorhead, J. Morrissey, & G. Norris (Compilers), Communication management and beyond, (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Australia.

Conference Papers/Presentations

  • Moorhead, B. (2018). Professional identity versus organisational role: A balancing act for newly qualified social workers. Joint world conference on social work, education and social development 2018, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
  • Moorhead, B. (2016). Who am I? Lived experiences of social work identity during the first twelve months post-qualification. Joint world conference on social work, education and social development 2016. Seoul, South Korea.
  • Moorhead, B. (2016). Fostering professional identity: a multidimensional issue for social work. Joint world conference on social work, education and social development 2016. Seoul, South Korea.
  • Moorhead, B., Bell, K., and Bowles, W. (2014). Newly qualified social workers' (NQSW) experiences of professional identity: initial findings from a phenomenological doctoral study [e-poster presentation]. Social work, education and social development conference 2014, Melbourne.
  • Moorhead, B. (2012). Well-Being and Meaning-Making in the workplace: Expect what? In M. Ditton (Ed.), New Thoughts about Work: Theoretical and Practical Aspects (Vol. 189, pp. 119-129). Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Symposium Presentations

  • Moorhead, B., Bell, K., Mutton-Jones, T., Boetto, H., and Bailey, I. (2017). Pedagogies for developing students' professional identity in neo-conservative environments. Australia New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research Symposium 2017. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Moorhead, B. (2016). Professional identity at the forefront of curriculum and practice: Challenges and opportunities for social work. Charles Sturt University 25th Anniversary Social Work Symposium 2016. Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Professional Writing

  • Johnson, S., & Moorhead, B. (2010). Melbourne, Darwin, next stop Dili: Social workers on the loose. AASW National Bulletin, 20(1). 19 – 20.

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