Tag Archives: How not to do social work

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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To survive?

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 [2012] 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!