A quick survival guide to social work, don’t you just love the idea that you could open a book and then it will tell you the answers that you need to be able to get through the complexities of social work practise on any given day.
Okay I am a little skeptical that such a book could provide the answers, it would be nice if it could though. But this then leads to the argument why would you need a survival guide? Yes social work is fast paced, with lots of pressure, arguments and disagreements and that’s just with the management trying to implement their children and young people’s plan. Let alone the difficulties in engaging families that have either not agreed they need your intervention or support.
Social Work for the past eight years has tried desperate to move from being a vocation to a regulated professional body. With this has come the degree course as standard entry now into social work and until July  the General Social Care Council to regulate our registrations and poor performance. Furthermore we have even finally got The College of Social Work to promote, support and advise on practise.
All of which leads to a point well made in my copy of the PSW [Professional Social Work] by Peter Unwin, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Worcester. Who says
I am concerned by a recent tendency for social work to be pitched as a profession in which one might be able to ‘survive’ (May 2012)
A comment about recent articles and journals about social workers promoting an image of surviving. When in which I completely agree with should be promoting social workers to thrive. To take control of their practise and be more proactive in bringing change to the social work profession.
This view point has a major impact in every way that social work is seen. In the Courts where social work analysis needs to be respected to enable the right decisions to be made to the media where relationships can be developed and lost within the communities we have to work.
Social Work is hard, and yes there is a very real risk of secondary post traumatic stress disorder from dealing with the numbers of sexual and physical abuse cases we deal with. And for the daily mail readers this is not just a tap on the back of the hand! And as a manager I see this as part of my role to ensure good supervision is given and as a leader I encourage positive social work development.
Day to day practise may involve fire fighting, case loads are growing the levels of need are also growing. But so is Social Work Knowledge, and so is the passion of the workers involved to make positive changes. And Why Groups such as Social Work/Social Care and Media and the Guardian Social Care Professional Network are having a positive influence on the use of sharing positive story’s of social work and social work development through the use of media.
I have never brought a survival guide to anything in Social Work and never will, and for social work students to see that they also do not need to do this either. Some of you may realise you do not want to practise at the end of your course but those who do and are lucky enough to find work. Do not just survive ‘Practise’ social work, be part of a developing profession and challenge other institutions views of what Social Work used to be and is today!