A Day in the Life of a Social Worker
Social workers help people respond to and cope with social, economic, emotional and behavioral problems in their daily lives. There are many different kinds of social workers who work with different demographics of people or on specific issues. Child and family social workers, clinical social workers, health care social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers represent the main specialties in social work.
On a daily basis, social workers perform myriad tasks relating to counseling, administrative duties, interviewing clients and potential clients, meeting with lawyers and more.
Social Worker Tasks
The schedule of a social worker may change depending on client scheduling, paperwork, staff meetings, and other factors. Some social workers have more flexibility in their scheduling than others, of course. On a normal day, a social worker’s schedule generally includes some of the following.
Meeting With Clients
Meeting with clients doesn’t just mean interviewing them or checking in on their progress. It can mean scheduling appointments with other resource providers, signing clients up for classes and listening to them and perspectives on their progress. Among the many ways that social workers help people is the fact that they are there to listen and provide insight and access to resources that lead to improved quality of life. This often manifests itself as helping clients adjust after life-altering experiences like divorce, job loss or illness.
Responding to Emergencies
Social workers are responsible for responding to the immediate and sometimes chaotic events that come up in their client’s lives. Crises don’t necessarily happen every day, but social workers must be able to respond calmly and with advice that is helpful. Since a basic responsibility of social workers is to help people cope with their lives, this includes the times when clients need them the most.
Evaluating and Connecting With Other Services
A huge part of a social worker’s job is to act as a liaison with other human services and organizations and their clients. This includes evaluating how these other organizations and agencies provide for people in need as well as providing access to these resources.
Advocating for Clients
Advocacy takes many shapes when it comes to social work. It can be on a personal level: advocating for a victim of abuse in a domestic violence situation, for example. Social workers can be legal advocates for children in abusive homes or individuals in recovery from addiction. Public advocacy includes providing a voice and raising awareness for their clients, a specific issue or the social work profession in general.
Social workers have a variety of responsibilities that require skills and knowledge in order to be successful. This is why most employers require social workers to have at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs and a master’s degree for social worker positions. Many aspiring social workers start their careers with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in order to acquire entry-level employment and gain experience in the field before committing to a full master’s degree program and licensure.
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