Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why I do what I do...

So, in my Social Work class, I had to do a Book Review. I really love this class, and I don't really consider this 'work'... LOVE IT. I don't know why you'd want to read my book review... But here it is...

I FEEL LIKE A DORK putting my "homework" on my blog, but I want you to know that I love helping people and I love my life right now. Seriously. Awesome.

I've been through some pretty tough things in my life, but I feel one of the reasons I have is so that I can bless others.

I'll highlight a few things... So you can skim through it!

While I was reading the assigned book, Days in the Lives of Social Workers, I was drawn to certain topics, or studies of Social Work. The areas that peaked my interest were Health Care Social Work, School Social Work, particularly Elementary School Social Work, Children, Youth and Family Social Work, especially Child Protective and Child Welfare Services, Criminal Justice and working with Victim Services and the impact Social Workers have on working in communities. I will discuss my feelings and personal views on a few of these topics that grabbed my attention and made me ponder and contemplate on my own views, thoughts and experiences, as I read them.

Health Care Social Work has a very special place in my life. This is the type of Social Work I would wish to be involved in. Last year, as I was wondering what direction to take my life and what career path to use, I decided to take a job at a Hospital. I knew that the direction I wanted to take my life would greatly involve people and assisting those in need. To what capacity and what way I was to do this, was still unknown to me, I could be anything from a Nurse to Social Worker, so I figured, what better way to see compassion in action then at a hospital? I worked in all departments of the hospital, from Surgical Unit to Medical Unit, Behavioral Unit to the Women’s Center. I enjoyed Women’s Center the best, and started out working in the Mother and Baby Unit of the Hospital and occasionally working in the Labor and Delivery Unit. As time went on and as the staff got to know me, I started learning all of the inner workings that made everything possible. After a few months, I was personally selected and asked to be permanently placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit/Labor and Delivery Unit. This shocked and scared me, because this was the hardest Unit for my position, but accepted graciously with anticipation and excitement.

As I was reading Chapter 4, ‘Social Work in an Infertility Clinic’ in, Days in the Lives of Social Workers, I was quickly brought back to my memories at the hospital. For me, working in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and L&D (Labor and Delivery Unit) was a gigantic leap from working in the Mom/Babe (Mother/Baby Unit). I was able to witness (more observation then participation because of my lack of certification for certain tasks) first hand, the pain and sorrow side of the miracle of birth. Until working in these units, I never realized how many parents lost their children, or faced drastic medical futures and trials with their newborns. Seeing young newborns in the NICU fighting for their life was a hard thing to deal with at first, and I had to change my view and understanding. Luckily for me, the nurses loved explaining procedures to me and sharing their abundance of knowledge, quickly adding to my interest and empathy for what parents had to go through.

Another area of Health Care that I found interesting in the book, Days in the Lives of Social Workers was Chapter 1, ‘Social Work in the ER’. I’m not sure if this was the best story to start the book out with, because I remember thinking, “I’m not even a portion into the book, but I already feel overwhelmed for this Social Worker.” But as I kept reading his personal account of experiences in the ER, he truly was, ‘everyone’s best friend’, like he stated. I was drawn to how much this particular Social Worker could juggle in one day. I’ve always known Social Work to be a taxing and draining position, but to have a day documented brought me to new understanding. I was particularly drawn to the cases the Social Worker described when he had to help loved ones face death. Especially, when he was helping a family cope with the loss of a young child. I am amazed by what strength he has.

I loved reading Chapter 11, ‘Elementary School Social Work’ in Days in the Lives of Social Worker. Reading this chapter made me excited about becoming a Social Worker! As I was reading her account, I could see myself doing this type of job, and doing very well at it. I’ve always loved kids, I think it is built into my genetic coding, because I also have great connection with them and very easily create a bond with them. I loved reading her account and seeing how staff and student alike trusted her completely. She was constantly running around, but you could tell she was so compassionate about what she did, which is important and vital. Because of her desire to perform well and her love for her job, you could tell that is one of the main reasons why she was able to accomplish so much with the time and resources she had.

This book, had so many stories that tugged at my heart, and made me understand how many people need this type of work, and how much good comes from Social Workers as a whole and individually.

One area the grabbed my interest, was Part 9, Criminal Justice. I found this section very interesting. I knew that it would be hard for me and very unattractive at times, because of my past and my personal experiences with different types of abuse, but I knew it would be good for me to read and better understand. I feel this type of Social Work is extremely important, but I know that I couldn’t handle many parts of it. Enough that, I know I couldn’t handle being a Social Worker in this field. But to my surprise, more compassion came than I expected. I knew some would come, but I typically feel more for the victim because I can relate, but I realized more of the depths the offenders feel.

I had the hardest time with Chapter 34, Residential Treatment for Adolescent Sexual Offenders. I know that because of my own personal experiences, and the requirements of being the representative and Social Worker for a case like this (in reference to a Social Worker for a Sex Offender), I wouldn’t be cut out for it. This made me worry and start to wonder if I could handle all of the stress and the magnitude of commitment, strength, knowledge and many other skills that are required of Social Workers. I had to put the book down. I couldn’t keep going. But then I realized, for that very reason, I could do this job. I fight for what I believe. I love mankind and human rights. I have been a victim, but I’ve turned that into a strength, and what better way to use that strength then to help others. Of course there are going to be areas that are harder for me, of course there are aspects I better relate to, but the fact is that I have talents and abilities that others can’t. As I learn to develop the special skills that are required of Social Workers, I will already have a base and foundation that can be quickly molded into a power for good and strength in this profession.

This book has helped me realize and see my strengths and my personality in different Social Work environments. I have empathy, I have inner strength, I have compassion, I have experience, I have knowledge, I have drive, I have understand that is special and unique to me, what else could be better for an early Social Worker to learn? I have learned this because of this book, because of Days in the Lives of Social Workers.

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