T’was the Night Before the Home Visit..

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

And absolutely nobody was stirring; except me of course, lying awake at 12:30am wondering if it would be best to shake my service users hand when I intrude into their personal life. 

I already know the answer to that one though; don’t shake unless shaken to. 

Its just one of a few thoughts buzzing about my head. Yet while I lay here not sleeping, worrying about how to make a great first impression to my first 4th year Case, I’m forgetting a vital factor. Whilst it may be stressful for me, I cannot begin to imagine the sheer worry my poor service user must be going through. The thought of a total stranger walking in their door in the morning, analysing her, her children and her home. I feel guilty for all my worry. 



Entry Two; Worry, worry, worry….

•January 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Today I have realised what I do a lot of in regards to this degree; worry.  I’ve obviously moved past the honeymoon period that is first year, where students are gently lulled into the course with modules being about introductions to the nitty gritty stuff that I’m now experiencing at a full blown scale as a second year student.  The pace has quickened, the workload has doubled (no longer does the party lifestyle of a first year in student halls take centre stage) and we are being fed with one word which is leading to a lot of anxiety; RISK.

It’s in every lecture. Every seminar. Every paper we read.  Never has a word stuck out so much to me.  I believe this is the point though; along with risk comes its partner “serious case review,” a hideous past that reminds us why we need to be so aware of risk.  A huge part of me is glad we are being made so aware of risk and the threat it poses.  As social workers, we are at the forefront of dealing with risk and managing it; we make the decisions that decide the pathway risk takes – towards a positive direction or a negative direction.  Obviously, all social workers look to the positive pathway, the initial threat of risk having the best outcome possible.  THAT, is why the idea of risk is being driven into us.  But I can’t help but worry; what if its me that is featured as the main person responsible in a serious case review? What if I miss that crucial piece of the risk jigsaw puzzle and I get it wrong? Perhaps its the effervescent blame culture that has been directed by the media at social workers, desperate to find that person who failed the system, failed that individual.  

There is a bright side.  With this darkened corner labelled “serious case review” comes the ray of sunshine that is called “experience.” Without these mistakes, we wouldn’t learn.  As a result of mistakes, organisations have become more structured and “risk aware,” This is the same with degree programs, who are providing us with a deluge of experience and information regarding these risks in order to ensure that nobody in that class has to experience the public outcry, so that we don’t have to make the mistake to learn.  This makes me feel confident; we are not in this worry alone.  I know its not just me thinking it.  Measures are in place to prevent us from making mistakes, teaching us to see loopholes.  I know the chances of me making such a crucial mistake are slim.  But still…  

The best thing about writing all this down? The worry has eased a bit.  I have seen what I need to do now; worrying is no use, it just puts you off. Learning about it in class is scraping the surface.  Its up to me now to dig deeper into the information available and ensure I start to develop the experience that is crucial work any social worker making a risky decision.  Hopefully with doing that, the worry will ease further!

•January 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Found this blog very interesting… definitely worth a read!

Social Work/Social Care & Media

Technology is firmly now part and parcel of our daily lives, embedded in our culture and transcending our whole lives – professional, personal and those grey areas in between. So what are the rules of engagement for those of us who are either qualified and registered social workers or those on the pathway to qualification?

Do we have absolute freedom in our use of social media or are there constraints and obligations to which we need to adhere? More specifically to social work, is it a medium that we should be using with service users and, if so, what are the parameters to that interaction? Where risk and protection are a central focus, is social media a legitimate tool to aid social workers in their assessments of individuals, such as a parent’s suitability to care for and safeguard their child?

We know the old mantra, ‘with rights come responsibilities’, much…

View original post 817 more words

Reflective Post One – Increasing Learning and SWSCMedia Debate

•January 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Hello Everyone!

Tonight I took part in my first debate under an anonymous twitter account – for anyone interested, see @SWStudentTweet or @SWSCMedia – I may be biased but I’d recommend both for a look!

So. Reflective learning has been drummed into me since first year.  As a second year student I have finally decided to embrace this instead of ignoring its importance.   I have decided I need to increase my learning of all things Social Work, and to do this I have decided to join a new Twitter account and start sharing my reflective diary online.  I am only beginning in my reflective journey, so I may not even be reflecting in an effective way yet – the point is, I am doing it.. yay!

Tonights debate focused on “Social Media for Social Work and the ethics of online engagment – an evening with BASW.”  This is an area I am quite interested in.  I believe that social media is an essential crux in a social work degree. It allows a vast scape of learning through social interaction; something that could be argued is essential when working with service users.  I began my first night of tweeting with “Ermintrude” (another anonymous blogger) discussing the BASW’s policy on social media: http://www.basw.co.uk/resource/?id=1515 

We both agreed that this lacked the positivity required to lead students and those who are wary of social media into its depths.  It holds a hazardous tone, which can give off fear to those who are trying to embark on learning more through the use of social media.  I feel this is unhelpful from an organisation who is trying to promote tools to effective social work; I feel this policy does not do this, and instead acts as a way of putting people off using social media to learn.  I feel we should not be put off expanding our views and opinions on all things social work, and policies with such a depth as that are merely encouraging that. 

Next; the debate! I love a good question and answer session and tonight was certainly fulfilling.  As it was an area of interest to me (social media and social work) I felt this was an exciting first debate.  I attempted to answer most of the questions with my views on such matters.  However, on reflection I feel that I should perhaps have responded more to others questions; this will maximise discussion for not only my learning but other’s learning, and for the next debate I am hoping to do such.  

What I have taken mostly from this debate is the fear of social workers surrounding social media.  As students, we are encouraged to use it, but this has not always been the case; it is only now that social media is growing that it is becoming popular within academics.  Those who did not gain a degree in this technological advancement may not be as confident using it; a point I took tonight was that people who are against social media as a learning tool often don’t know how to use it themselves, and so are understandably wary.  I would be too if it had not been for the encouragement of tutors.  Social media shouldn’t be a thing to be scared of; sure, at first it seems highly intimidating, but once you get into it its actually quite exciting and thrilling.  Its an interesting way to learn compared to powerpoint slide after powerpoint slide…..

However, there was a controversial point raised tonight.  “Is it ok to check up on client’s/service users use of social media to see what their lifestyle is really like?” I agreed yes. HOWEVER, I only believe yes if there is procedures and consent put in place to do so; otherwise it is a total breach of service users right to a private life. And not to say it goes against the “respect” part that we agree to when we join the SSSC.  I feel it could be important for gaining information on cases where service users are not being entirely compliant; for example in the Declan Hainey case; social workers were sucked into Kimberly’s stories and missed important points; whats to say that she didn’t have something completely different on a social network site that would have started the ball running? Also, it could be important for the surveillance of sex offenders; especially if they are interested in social media and checking that they are not abusing this trust.

There was also discussion of the blurred lines between professional and personal aspects. I obviously keep an anonymous blog and twitter account.  I also have a social one.  And never the two shall meet! I want to keep a strictly focused differentiation between the two, and I also feel that having a blog and account strictly for learning leaves me more focused on education, and not looking at the recent tweets from my friends.  

Thats all for tonight I’m afraid, hopefully more tomorrow! 

Thanks for reading!