Social Workers Breaking Barriers-One Day at A Time

As a private clinician, and Manager of the Social Work Department at the Valley Hospital, collectively we view our purpose as making a difference, making connections, making meaning and making a life- all of which entails breaking barriers on a daily basis. As social Workers, we are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living.  Social workers are tasked uniquely to assist patients in the most difficult psycho-social circumstances and guide patients families and medical providers with navigating medical care coordination and social service challenges in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic.  We must adapt to change manage stress and innovate.  We are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities. Social workers use their collective skills to establish policies that give more people to access community services.

The barriers are so broad at times that you literally need to take a breath,  and view one situation, one case at a time to assess what are we working with and how can we assist.  For each individual patient/client particularly those living with chronic disease, mental illness or history of either gender or racial discrimination there are many complicated and questions that relate specifically to their health, work and family situation.

This year we have had our fair share of patients that were acutely ill, undocumented, hardworking people who are not eligible for any health care benefits because of their emigration status. It takes perseverance and networking with foreign services, legal programs, and family members of these patients to assist them with accessing on going care upon leaving the hospital. This make take months to even years requiring collaboration with the State Administration Department of Human Affairs.

In many ways, when you  look at  advocating for patients/clients/families helping them help themselves is in itself “ breaking barriers”, perhaps barriers they find are lifted through discovering their own self empowerment.  Such as, giving the elderly a voice and ability to participate in their own long term care plan or end of life decision. These are examples of providing dignity in overcoming barriers.

On a professional level, in 2022 our social workers advocated to receive higher wages. They did their research and brought their own united voice to Human Resources. They were requesting fair and equitable wages to their counter- parts RN Case Managers who were being paid six levels higher. Even though the outcome was not in favor of the request, the social workers advocated for themselves and inserted their professional opinions. As we all know, fair and equitable wages for Social Workers is on the radar and we hope to continue to advocate and  not only lift this challenge but substantiate it through providing essential and ever growing need for  Social Work Services to humankind.

Social workers are uniquely positioned to address life problems and impact change.   To advocate is to be a Barrier Breaker-one day at a time.

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