Successful in the Profession of Social Work
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Growing up, I always asked myself what I would end up doing in life. It wasn’t until
I went through my parents’ divorce and my grandfather’s leg amputation when I realized I wanted to help people. When I was 12 years old, my parents decide to end their marriage and get a divorce. As soon as the divorce was finalized my father moved away. I grew up in a single parent home; my mother didn’t have the support or the help needed to overcome the struggle she was going through at the moment. My mother managed to raise two kids on her own; she worked two jobs just to put me through college. As soon as I graduated from college, she was able to get some rest and only work one job. I graduated high school knowing I wanted to help people for a living. I wasn’t sure how or what I would be doing to accomplish that goal. I started college, little did I know my 4 years in college were going to be a constant struggle. At the time we owned one vehicle. My mother and I would have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning every time I had a class. My mother would have to drive me an hour to school, drop me off, and have her turn back to be at work by 7:30 am. It became our school routine throughout my four years of college. Being involved in Social Work will give me the opportunity to help single parents get the help they need in order to overcome any struggles and have a better life for their children and themselves. I would help single parents raise children in an environment with minimum struggles. About six months after my parents’ divorce finalized, my grandfather’s leg got amputated. At that time, my grandfather had to choose between his heart and his leg. He was a diabetic patient; he had diabetes for over 20 years. That day he ended up choosing his leg, not being concerned that his heart needed immediate medical attention. He decided to end with the infection that was eating away his leg than to clear the arteries in his heart were plaque was building up. After the surgery, Social Services talked to the entire family Talking giving us options to make my grandfather’s recovery fast and easy made the transition to his new lifestyle better than what we expected. Social Services made everything easy not only for him but for the entire family, they made the whole process easy. With the help of the Social Worker my grandfather was sent to a rehab center where he learned how to walk with a prosthetic leg, as a family we all learned appropriate wound care to prevent any infections, and we were educated on his new strict diet
After finishing college I knew that with my career I could create social justice around my community. Yet, I knew I could do something else to help my community in other areas. I went back to school and became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). With both my careers not only would I be creating social justice around my community, but I would be also helping those in need of medical attention. While attending EMT school, I worked for the City of Ventura after-school programs. Once I was done with EMT School, I started working in the Emergency Department of one of our local Hospitals. I currently work as an EMT at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California and on my days off I work in the after-school programs.
Working in the Emergency Department has taught me a lot. I have seen many cases where Social Services need to be called in order to help patients in various aspects. We work hand in hand with the Social Services Department to help and provide stable wellbeing to our patients. They are constantly being called, and often I come across patients who go in looking for help because they feel helpless or because they are going through difficult times in life that they are afraid to do any harm against themselves or other people. Many occasions I’ve had the opportunity to sit with patients and in conversations while waiting for Social Services and crisis team. One day I had a deep conversation with a mother of two children, I will never forget what we talked. She was going to be transferred to a different hospital due to insurance purposes. When she was going to be transferred by Medical transport she held my hand and thank me for talking to her. She told me ‘Your words showed me that life has a real meaning, my children and grandkids.’ All that woman needed was the affirmation that there is meaning to life and there is someone who really cares about you in this world. There was another occasion it was during Thanksgiving, a 14-month-old baby arrives in the emergency Department accompanied by her grandmother and her aunt, her mother’s youngest sister. She arrived with a methamphetamine overdose, which she obtained at home from her parents. According to grandmother, the parents are constant drug users. That day the grandmother and aunt had gone to visit the little girl and the mother when the grandmother and aunt noticed the baby wasn’t acting like herself. The Grandmother and the aunt decided to lie to the little girl’s parents by telling them they were going to take her out for the evening and would be returning her home by the end of the day. Grandmother and aunt took the little 14-month-old baby to the Emergency Department where she arrived in critical conditions with a heart rate of over 220. Once there she was monitored closely, and blood test was conducted. That night we became aware that the little girl had been removed from her home twice by Child Protective Services. The first time she was removed from her home when she was days old. According to the grandmother, the little girl was born with methamphetamine and traits of other drugs in her bloodstream and later returned home to her parents. The second time she was removed when she was 5 months old, and once again shortly after the little girl was returned to her parents. Despite the times, the little girl was taken away from her parents, Child Protective Services would always return her back to her parents. After being return twice to her parents after the same problem, the Child Protective Services system failed to intervene and save the baby and put her in a healthy and safe place. When I heard everything this little girl had been through I was shocked, it was hard for me to believe. After everything I have seen, heard, and lived; I was able to come to the conclusion that the way I want to reach my goal of helping people and my community was through becoming a Social Worker.
In order for someone to be successful in the profession of Social Work, a person needs to offer help to change and improve any condition. Any person who decides to enter the world of Social Work needs to be persistent, driven, patient, show empathy, amongst many other traits. A good social worker is a person who offers many professions in one. They are the ones who give you advice, take care of you when needed, and become your own personal counselor, amongst many other things. Being able to work in the world of Social Work gives the opportunity to advocate for anyone who doesn’t have a voice. I believe becoming a Social Work is a gift a life where you can enter someone’s life and change it, helping them survive in a pool of struggles.
In my professional life as an EMT, I can relate in many aspects to the professional work of Social Work. Both fields are meant to help people but in different ways. The world of Social Work is a broad field. It seems like as time passes Social Work has become more specialized. People are able to specialize in a specific area. For example, my goal is to work as a Medical Social Work. I work in the medical field, I help people overcome health struggles and I would love to support and help patients continue overcoming medical issues by providing them with the appropriate resources in order to fully recover. Just how I give appropriate wound care instructions to patients, on how to care for a wound after being treated in the Emergency Department I would work with patients by providing them with a good support system, follow up treatments, as well as other health services. EMT’s and Social Workers, work in giving the patient appropriate information and resources to ensure the patient achieves a full and healthy recovery.
Ethical conflicts happen often in the workplace, some come unexpectedly. Working in the Emergency department where time is golden and fast thinking and fast actions are required can create many ethical conflicts. There was a time when I was in charge of triaging every patient that walked through the main Emergency Department door. That day I was training a new EMT. One of the patients I triaged came in with severe chest pain. I opted with skipping the vitals and obtaining and Echocardiogram (EKG, ECG), but my coworker wanted to start with vitals and do the Echocardiogram after. That created a little disagreement between my coworker and myself. We didn’t want to discuss the disagreement in front of the patient, therefore; we worked as a team to obtain vitals fast and get the patient into a room fast to obtain that echocardiogram. Once done with the patient, we looked at the hospitals’ protocol on Chest Pains and discussed how an initial echocardiogram becomes a priority over the vitals. We discussed how the initial echocardiograms need to be done within the first 10 minutes, especially in our hospital since we specialize in cardiac and stroke patients.
As I mentioned before I work In the Emergency Department as an Emergency Medical Technician. There I’ve had the opportunity to work with a diverse population. A population of different cultural backgrounds, different ethnic groups, religions, life situations, and different age groups. Working with a diverse population allows me to learn and open my mind to other cultural customs. After interacting with different people I learned to challenge stereotypes. I became more aware of peoples believes and traditions. Interacting with a diverse population has helped me understand how cultures shape the way we view the world. I have learned how to help people who have lost their voice, but within their culture, believes, and religion. The diverse population has a lot to offer to our community. Social justice can help shape every person to strengthen and build a healthy, stable community. Social Work it’s a hard job to be in, you are faced day by day with many challenges, yet at the end of the day, you get rewarded by many things. As mentioned before social workers help people improve the struggles and problems they might be facing.
Working in the Emergency Department I’ve seen several problems that can be addressed. The social problem that causes my attention all the time within Health Care, such as geriatric issues, children being neglected, assaults, as well as other issues. There are many issues affecting elderly people. Often older people are taken to the emergency department, many are sent from convalescent homes. They arrive on their own, most of the time families never show up to see them. There are some elderly people who are really loved and their families are always by their side. Some elderly people, unfortunately, arrive in the Emergency Department to die. As a social worker, I would advocate for them, find them the appropriate help they need. Find them a home where they can be taken care off and not be neglected, somewhere elderly can be transported and taken out. As mentioned before, a few months ago a little girl arrived in the hospital with a methamphetamine overdose. In the case of the little girl, I would have interfered. I would have looked at her case and see what was the issue before. I would have helped his little girl, helped her stay away from those conditions and that situation. Help the 14-month-old baby be removed from that situation permanently, or try to help the parents to overcome their problem so they can be a happy family away from drugs. I will try my best to give a voice to those who don’t have one and can’t be heard.
I am well aware that being in the MSW program I will have to dedicate a lot of time. I will have to be committed to the program in order to real my goal of becoming a Social Worker. In order to meet all the requirements, I will have to work around my school schedule. Luckily I work 3 days a week in the Emergency Department and I’m on call for the City of Ventura. In the City of Ventura, I only work when I am available, which is a nice thing. In the Emergency Department, I Work three days a week 12-14 hours a shift, which means I have 4 days off to catch up on my schooling. Having to work only three days a week makes it easier to complete my field internship. Luckily I work in a place where they support education. If someone is going to school they respect their school schedule and they work around it. I am single with no kids which help in terms of going to school and stay dedicated to my studies. Not having the responsibility of a family nor of children helps to focus more in school and prepare more academically.
I decided to apply to the MSW program last minute. It was something my mother convinced me to do. I had been in an unhealthy relationship where my head knew it wasn’t good for me but my heart through the opposite. I walked away from the relationship and focused on myself. My close friends and family noticed I wasn’t being myself. I wasn’t the same Erika everyone new, I wasn’t the devoted, loving caring person everyone new. Until finally I sat with my mother and realized that everything she said was true. I let go of my dreams for someone who didn’t appreciate what they had by their side. I did some researched, talked to the Nurse Educator from the Emergency Department I work in and gave me all the information needed to apply to the MSW. I am happy to be taking this step, now there is no one stopping me. I will reach high, and touch the stars. I am here to help my community and I will make a change, the change this world needs.