The role played by social workers in the society is one which cannot be ignored. In most cases, social workers provide a helping hand to different groups, individuals, and societies. The assistance provided by social workers usually improve the lives of the communities they serve by providing means with which they could deal with their problems (Trevithick, 2017). In the course of their work, social workers go through a number of events that form part of their learning experiences. These learning experiences can be used by social workers to learn more about what is required of them as far as competency is concerned. Competency, in this case, refers to what is accepted and what is not accepted in social work. My personal experience as a social worker in a Hospice proved to be a turning point and change my perception of social workers. In some cases, social workers go through challenges which transform them as professional by building on their integrity and competency.
On this particular experience, there was some shortage of workers in the Hospice. Earlier there had been a good number of workers who had just left their jobs at the Hospice. I was placed at the Definite Choice Healthcare Management. With the increasing number of patients, there was an urgent need for more workers. Unfortunately, the Hospice management did not hire any more workers and relied mostly on field placements to take care of the old in the Hospice. In my case, I was charged with taking care of the elderly mostly who were from the Hispanic culture. First thing first, there was a major barrier in terms of the language. Most of the elderly from the Hispanic community had little knowledge of the English language. On top of that, I had to work extra-long hours due to the shortage of workers. This meant that I had to extend my work late into the night at the same time report to work earlier than usual. That was my daily routine all throughout my placement period. Although I seemed to be a very challenging task, I managed to get through it.
Through the experience at the Hospice, I was able to gain some vital learning experience in terms of social work. One key area of interest includes the values that social workers must have to effectively execute their work. Among the topmost values include service. Social workers should ensure that their service comes first before their self-interest (National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2017). It is the expectation of social workers that they use the knowledge and skills to assist those in need. The assistance should come without any favours nor the expectation of financial gain. On top of that, there is also the aspect of ethics in social work. Each social worker has the responsibility of caring for and supporting their patients under different circumstances (Biennberger, 2006). Most of the patients in the Hospice are at the critical stages of their lives. The utmost care should be given to these patients, no matter the circumstances. Due to the cultural dynamics within the Hospice, communication proved to be a major barrier. I was tasked with Hispanic patients. I had to learn how to communicate in Spanish to effectively communicate with patients. In situations like the one I encountered, it is important to learn other cultural aspects in order to deal with the issue effectively.
From the experience I had at the Hospice, I learned quite a few things about myself and social work in general. To begin with, I learned that I can be resilient in whatever I do. The resilience was demonstrated by my ability to handle the pressure and the challenges that were brought about during my time at the Hospice. The long hours I worked together with the language barrier enabled me to handle the pressure and be able to perform to the best of my abilities. On top of that, my attitude towards social workers changed especially those that work in Hospice facilities. After the experience, I really appreciated the work done by social workers. In addition to appreciating their work, I came to know that social work basically revolves around the relationship any social worker has with their client (Beresford, 2011). Other qualities that I came to know to be important in social work is integrity and competency. Integrity and competency will shape up any social worker into one who contributes to changing the lives of people in society.
In summary, social work in one field that requires one to build an effective relationship with their clients. Through any experience in social work, workers go through experiences that serve as a learning platform in the field as well as from the individual's perspective. From my personal view, one experience at the Definite Choice Healthcare Management gave me an idea as to what social workers go through. I was able to gain valuable knowledge in regards to the values as well as ethical considerations in social work. Dealing with people from culturally diverse backgrounds, the experience was challenging but educative at the same time. Moving forward, I will consider putting in mind the values and ethical consideration in performing my work.
Beresford, P. (2011). What every social work student should know. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/joepublic/2011/oct/03/social-work-students-tips
Biennberger, E. (2006). Ethics in social work: An ethical code for social work professionals.
National Association of Social Workers, (2017). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers.
Trevithick, P. (2017). The self' and use of self in social work: A contribution to the development of a coherent theoretical framework. The British Journal of Social Work, 48(7), 1836-1854.
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