I have worked in a human service type field for most of my adult life. I worked with the senior population in a home health care setting. It is sort of a healthcare setting as well as human services. I provided direct one on one care with the elderly. This led me to the knowledge that I enjoyed working with the senior client population. There were a few other events in my life that also led me to the conclusion that I wanted to help advocate for people, especially people who are unable to advocate for themselves.
The first instance would be when I grew up my mother worked first in an adult daycare, which was a place that provided respite for caregivers during the day. The nursing home my mother worked for eventually phased out the adult day care and when that happened my mother went on to become an activities assistant at the same nursing home. While my mother worked there they allowed her to bring me into work on school vacations as long as I volunteered. So I started out by volunteering with the senior community at a very young age.Order now
At that age I thought my mother got paid to just have fun and I looked forward to have that type of job when I grew up; Of course over the years that my mother worked there I did in fact learn that there was paperwork involved in her daily tasks as well as other work and no exactly playing things that needed to be done in the day. The second event in my life would be that I became a teenage parent, and because of this fact I was introduced to a woman who led the teen parent program at my high school. At the time the program focused on pregnant teenage girls and new teenage mothers.
There was a group support meeting every week, there were also parenting classes. They also did things like help you get childcare, get transportation to doctor’s appointments, and etcetera. Now it did not dawn on me when I was involved with the program but later on in reflection, I knew that this could be a passion of mine. To help teenage parents navigate through the parenting process. The third event is that my children both had special needs, they both worked with early intervention specialists from birth to three, and they both went too modified/special education preschools between the ages of three and five.
I had to learn to navigate through the education process and learn to advocate for my children to get the best education that they were entitled to. Because of early intervention that my youngest child received it really put the idea of becoming a social worker into my head. The early intervention provider had a master’s degree in social work with a minor in special education. While my youngest was receiving early intervention services is when I decided I was going to go to college. I decided to go to Career counseling and I took a test that was supposed to match you up with a career.
My top three were social worker, teacher, and nurse. Social worker and being a teacher were things that I had thought about. But having worked in home health care I knew that I had no interest in nursing. So then I enrolled at the local community college and applied for the human service program, after my first semester of prerequisites and an interview with the head of the department I was accepted into the Human service program. After gaining my Associates degree in Human services, I then applied to Salem State University and eventually was accepted into the social work program.
When I first started at Salem State University, my initial essay stated that I wished to work with the senior population, and I still enjoy this population. My field placement at the council on aging has been fantastic. I have learned a lot about the program, and the director has become very much a role model to me. Someone that I would very much like to be like when I am completed my education and hold the LICSW license. Salem State universities social work program has given me a really broad knowledge of the social work field.
I think that general practice one and general practice two are the classes that get you to think with a social work hat. These two classes prepare you the most for your field placement. You are able to do role play and have practice prior to getting into the field placement. I do believe that the hands on practice of being in field is the very best teaching/learning tool for me as a student. When I interviewed for my field placement and I had to choose different places that I would like to have my placement at, I picked a variety of places.
I had chosen elder services because I do love the senior population. But I chose early intervention and children’s friend and family as well. But at the interview Karen told me she thought she had the perfect place for me and thought it would be a great fit and she set up for me to interview with Annmary Connor from the Amesbury Council on aging. I knew a little bit about the agency and thought it would be a good experience. This placement put me in a position to learn case management and to broaden my knowledge of community resources.
In my field placement I have had plenty of opportunities for professional development. I attended an all-day training for social workers at a conference for the National council on aging. At this conference I was a room moderator and got to sit in on three continuing education trainings. I also went to a training put on by the Samaritans about suicide prevention in elders. This was a great learning experience as I did not realize there was a high prevalence in suicide amongst seniors, but it goes unnoticed a majority of the time as it is thought that it’s an accidental overdose or similar occurrence.
It also taught us how to recognize if someone is depressed or possibly suicidal and how to speak to them about suicide. To be able to determine if they are suicidal and if they have a suicide plan. This is something important to know working within the senior population. As for my future in social work I will continue to network in the community and build stronger relationships with in the community. Annmary told me that I am very good with case management and look forward to make those skills stronger in my social work career.
With my field placement I discovered that I will always love the senior community, but that I wish to broaden my learning by working with different client populations. But I have also learned that some of the needs are similar between many client populations and that the experience at the council on aging has only strengthened my knowledge base. My immediate goal upon graduation was to find an entry level position within the social work field, but to actually work with a different client population.
I am happy to announce that I do in fact have a job to start of my career as a social worker with Lahey Behavioral health as a family partner. When I start I will have eight weeks of intensive training and by the ninth week I will have cases of my own. I will be working with families specifically with caregivers of children under 21 with behavioral issues. I will be helping them navigate services within the community, advocating and teaching them to advocate for themselves. Letting them know there is hope. In the long run I hope to eventually become and intensive care coordinator within the same program with Lahey.
I am currently in the process of applying to University of New England online master’s degree program. They have a traditional track and an accelerated track that I am hoping to be able to get into. After graduation from Salem state university I plan on going for my LSW even though I plan on getting my LICSW in the long run I know that this will take time as I have about two years to complete my Master’s and then there is another two years working under an LICSW before I can even sit for that exam. I look forward to lifelong learning through continuing education.