Tag Archives: blogging

Practise

Today I was kindly reminded why social work is not a straight forward job, that it requires going above and beyond – maybe even more than creative with the acknowledged lack of a budget.  That poor grammar mixed with the wrong use of a word brings shame upon social work (good job I get my work checked before it is sent to court then).  But sadly I think the message I was given was lost upon the method of delivery, its punch line seeping in self importance and with the owner of the comment more concerned with their own power and attempt to be little me.  It is these behaviours that bring power and meaning to those arguments to the people that do not support social work or social care.

It is easy to forget that everyone has their own life story, or their own challenges to overcome to qualify in social work.  That the experience needed is not gained with the certificate on graduation; instead it does however give you an opportunity to practise working with vulnerable people.

So therefore when sitting in someones living room discussing challenging safeguarding concerns with someone who may or may not agree with the concerns and you are discussing with them how you are going to support them or safeguard the child’s needs.  Stop, think and consider your approach use your knowledge and your learning, challenge and be direct, make your point and get it across but do not do it at the expense of the parents or of social work.

If you are a social work student reading this, do not get the wrong impression social work is a profession that can adapt and does adapt quickly.  Social Workers do work hard and longer than they should, Social Workers do make an effort and there is no time for luxury.  So yes I do agree that in social work, that social workers should have the right tools to complete their tasks, I do think that the right working environment is needed and essential, and I do believe that confidentially for the people we work with is essential.

So thank you for reminding me why the focus must remain on the vulnerable children we work with and why research being completed by University’s and other social work academics is so important to informing our practise.

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What is my experience?

Its not often I stop to think what it is in social work that I am good in doing! it is easier to say that I make mistakes and learn from these.  However, it still remains clear that despite the many hours of training and then the many hours of direct work with families that social workers are still rarely seen as experts.

I can see why, after all how easy is it to say that I am an expert in child protection? or I can predict the age of a separated child! But I do have a long history of working with children, furthermore I understand risk and my ability to reflect perhaps stops me from thinking that actually I might be expert.

After all, the last place anyone wants to be is in court highlighting what has happened well and what has happened not so well and what the immediate significant harm is.  Instead it would be far better to be an expert in keeping families together but this would never get to court to be proven would it?

But what this really means is how can I adapt as a social worker to change within a changing service? What do I still bring to the table as a skilled practitioner and how can I support other social workers and the families that they still work with.

As privatisation and the talk of early intervention becomes an almost daily discussion in the media, the need of social workers to really understand the work that they do becomes more important.  To continue to broaden your experience to be able to adapt to meet the needs of young people and their families becomes more key in understanding what you are experienced in completing.

I am pleased to say that I have been lucky in the opportunities that I have had and will continue to fight for.  But for those starting out in social work, do not ignore the work you do on a daily basis and the extra you need to do to learn from it and develop the expertise we may all need one day.

 

River boat

 

Social work can be like a slow boat, slowly chugging along the river, all big and bulky with lots of people trying to make the boat get to where it is meant to be going.  Every now and again it is felt that this is all wrong and rather than change the boat and the purpose of the vessel to save money their seems, instead to be a more ruthless practise of either asking people to jump or more unceremoniously pushed.

Like many professions change is inevitable and often good, after all social work practise has had to change and helpfully in line with the Jubilee, Community Care show the past 60 years of social work here.

Similarly when change happens some skills are lost along with knowledge, and for many professions the idea that knowledge is held within social work is a new concept.  With a degree and masters degree and more social workers being able to undertake research into neglect, abuse, domestic violence, family placements and like me Age Assessments and many other social issues, this knowledge base is growing bigger.

So with change comes a lot of positivity, and a wake up call for all social workers and social work managers that our learning never stops.  In order to support families a better understanding of culture and modern culture is needed.  Social Workers need to be able to respond to crisis with an up to date understanding of family life and how social media affects and impacts on social relationships and abuse.

I am excited about social work and how I can be involved in shaping the future of it.  Although this is slowly within my work place, each day I challenge some of those older views.  Each day I learn something new that makes me read more, not that this will help me understand but it will allow me to be better prepared.

I will not see the manager that gave me my first social work job again, but I will not forget the gift I was given with my first job.  I will not forget the lesson that even with many years of social work that change is not needed so rather than me being changed I will continue to adapt my practise to fit Social Work, because the change I want to make is for the young people to achieve the outcomes they want.

 

picture credit to: en.wikipedia.org