Kimberly Whitfield HHS497: Health & Human Services
July 12, 2012
Table of Contents
* Introduction to Social Workers
* What a Social Worker Does
* Education Requirements
* Work Settings
* Culturally competent work with diverse populations
* Career development
* Future alternatives
Introduction to the life of a Social Worker; Social work is a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment. This can mean providing direct services or therapy directly to people. It also can mean working for change to improve social conditions. The phrase "in their environment" points to a distinguishing characteristic of social work, one that sets it apart from other helping professions. Social workers help clients deal not only with how they feel about a situation but also with what they can do about it. Many social workers work for social change as well. The victim of an assault benefits not only from therapy but also from efforts to curb neighborhood crime. If a client is under stress because illness has devastated the family finances benefits from efforts to reform the nation’s health care system. Social workers spend time within an office or residential facility. These workers may also travel to visit clients, attend meetings or meet with service providers. Full-time social workers work the typical 40-hour work week and may work evenings to attend community meetings, meet with clients and handle emergencies. A person looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and an abundance of options, should consider social work. Social workers are people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, who want their work to make a difference.
Careers of a Social Worker
Social workers serve individuals, families, and communities. They are managers, supervisors, and administrators. They serve at all levels of government. They are educators. They are therapists and researchers. More and more, they are also elected political leaders and legislators. The social work profession has its own body of knowledge, code of ethics, practice standards, credentials, state licensing, and a nationwide system of accredited education programs. These equip the professional social worker to combine the desire to help others with the knowledge, skill, and ethics needed to provide that help. For sheer variety, few occupations can match social work, which offers the broadest range of opportunities and settings. Social workers are found in public agencies, private businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, private practices, police departments, courts, and countless other interesting workplaces. [ (Statistics, 2009) ] Social work practice consists of the professional application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and participating in legislative processes. The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social and economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors. What a Social Does;
Social workers offer a broad range of services, from emotional support to referrals for community resources. They may provide counseling services, advocate for a patient, or work with community groups to develop resources that will aid medical patients and other...