Social work learning practice
Social work learning practice

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Social work learning practice

8 Conclusion

In this final clip, the practitioners and service users you have heard throughout the course will put together their own thoughts, in order to give you advice on how to be a better social worker.

You will find that the advice is wide ranging and quite personal, based on the speakers' perceptions and life experiences.

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Transcript: Conclusions

The greatest social workers, for me, they’re empathetic. They don’t stand aloof. They’re not subjective, they’re objective. And they don’t see what they’re just supposed to see, but they’re trying to create, or they’re trying to work out where the problems have been.
Well, I'd suggest that they learn how to listen, find out as much as they can about the person that they're dealing with, and find out as much as they can about the condition that the person's got … why they need help, if it's due to an illness, and find out what the illness is all about, so that they can be more understanding and help the client better.
You definitely need to be open and honest with yourself, and take opportunities to have supervision and to reflect on your own prejudices. And it is a hard thing to do, and it is quite frightening. And it can be difficult to explore how you feel about these kind of things. But it’s so important not to skip over it. When I was younger, I could never bear to listen to anybody talking about religion, because I didn’t have one. But I’m happy to listen to people, and I can respect that they believe something else. I think that’s an important part of social work … accepting that people have opinions other than your own.
Ask questions. More questions you can ask, more you can gain. That is one thing. Have patience and understanding. There’s things you don’t understand, so go and ask and find out.
I think you've got to be very careful not to put your expectations, and put your judgements and your beliefs, onto children and young people. I think they need to have their own identity.
You are going to be challenged about personal beliefs, about issues personal to you, and that throughout the course there will be opportunities when really you have to reflect on your past experiences … and really got no choice because the nature of that lecture, or of that discussion, will throw up a lot of things for you.
Be open to learn as much as possible. Be honest and ask questions, and listen to the answers as well.
Look at your own life and experiences … things like loneliness, being afraid, change … and, no matter how the bravest person you are, the loneliness and change are scary things, and how they affected you … just try and imagine the fear and all the different emotions, just by your own experiences. And, just because they're elderly, they haven't stopped feeling, they haven't stopped caring, they haven't stopped loving. The emotions haven't ceased. They're all there still. Just being old, just being out of your home and in a care home doesn't mean it all stops.
I think I probably never really took into account, and I should have done, how emotionally painful social work is. Emotionally, the cost is very high in this work. And that’s something that … it’s hard to tell people before they begin anyway, isn’t it? You just think, “Oh well, you know, emotionally very draining, blah de blah de blah”. And usually it’s only when the reality hits, that people start running around thinking, “Ooh god what have I done”.
Stephen Rashid
But, despite the painfulness, it’s still a job worth doing?
Oh, yes.
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