Social Work Careers: 6-Month Check-Up for New Social Workers

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Boredom, what's that?

I had to re-read the title "Boredom" and the description "you have trouble finding productive activity and filling the hours in the work day." I need MORE hours in the work day! A few of the above points apply to me as a 6 month newbie. I have an amazing supervisor and amazing co-workers who keep me going, and agency salaries are clearly set. I have recognized the beginning signs of real burnout in myself, and while trying to increase my own personal joy and self-care I cannot do so regularly because job demands (notes, referrals, admissions, audit-ready charts, etc) must be met, even if that means after-hours and weekend work (although discouraged but many do it). As a matter of fact, finally reading this article is part of my self-care regimen for this morning before returning to documenting from home. My biggest "real-world" observation is I truly believe the individuals who set the caseloads/standards (such as DMH and Medicaid) do not understand that a caseload of individuals/families is not simply "see them for X billing time, document what happened, done". The level of functioning and needs of the individuals and families you work with hugely contributes to the work load beyond "interact, document, done, next". Individuals may need your help filling out paperwork for an extra 30 minutes, have trouble accessing resources, need you to stay with them during other services because they need a translator, they may have clear flu/UTI/strep/other symptoms but until you arrived they didn't recognize it and now you have to arrange for transport to urgent care. They may be homeless and you spent an hour searching for them because they were not in your agreed upon place. You drive 30 minutes to someone's home to find they were not there, waited for 30 minutes, and then drove back 30 minutes to the agency to discover that they were back home now; that wasted time could have been 2-3 clients! The level of "human" is not factored into the standards set forth by agencies, insurances, etc. Every day I look at my schedule, how pretty it looks on a spreadsheet, and laugh about noon because it already fell apart, and push through lunch to keep from getting 2-3 hours behind. Even working with other social services agencies/service providers such as doctor's offices, Social Security, Medicaid, etc in order to perform your job with clients can ruin the productive/client time of your day: this week I spent 1 1/2 hours of phone calls to get a fax from Social Security, spent 2 hours requesting med refills, and it took more than 2 weeks to get a referral for home healthcare for second-degree burns only to find out that insurance doesn't cover it. Some of these set-backs increase my knowledge, such as learning Medicaid standards, while other set-backs are unavoidable and are agency paperwork to cover the requirements by DMH/Social Security/etc. I strongly believe a whole other employee should be hired to manage this part of each department for audits.

Mary Moon more than 3 years ago


"If your boss is just a miserable boss, perhaps being less sensitive to criticism and developing a thicker skin will make a difference." ...Social work values on display here? Would you say this to a client?
This author seems very well-adjusted to the current (unhealthy) state of the field.
More Danna Bodenheimer and less Elizabeth Clark please --or we'll all have to grow thicker skins.

Brooks more than 4 years ago

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