Bachelor Degree in Seven Days
Ok, so I’ve been in Texas just over two weeks now. The Diana Garland School of Social Work is absolutely one of a kind. Baylor is wonderful. Waco is a such a big small town. Texas is HOT in the worst of ways. Horses are beautiful, therapeutic presences. The woman I rent my room from is an angel. And Peaches are delicious. And I’m full of interest!
This is the view from the back porch. Yes, those are horses! The picture hides how big they really are 16.5 and 17.5 hands!! And I’m only 10 minutes away from school. It’s better than anything I could have imagined and I don’t know how I ended up in such a perfect place. As they say down here- “It’s a God thing.”
Last week was a whirlwind. Orientation and classes to get those of us who had never taken Social Work classes had to be brought up to speed. They taught us how to write an APA approved paper, gave a crash course on the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics, a brief history of social services from 5000BC, Shulman skills, discussions on the importance of integrating faith and practice (even a belief in nothing is a belief in something and a person’s spirituality is the center of their being, so how can we NOT consider it when helping someone? Plus, there’s heaps of evidence showing spirituality correlates to better health outcomes. Client’s values+research=best care ever!), the importance of self-care (chocolate and ice cream? No, they are basic human needs and thus, don’t count) and making time to practice self care, the importance of knowing who you are and what you believe, the importance of boundaries and the importance of building community within our cohort.
Ethics are how you act and interact based on the values you have about what’s right and wrong. So the values a social worker holds in highest esteem are: Service to clients, Social justice, Dignity and worth of the individual, Importance of human relationships, Integrity and Competence.
Which give us the S.W. Ethical Principles:
Help people in need address social problems
Challenge social injustice
Respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person
Recognize the central importance of relationships
Behave in a trustworthy manner
Practice within competency and develop and enhance professional expertise
Think I can do it? Apparently, no other profession utilizes their Code of Ethics like a Social Worker. Sure, lawyers have one, too but do they actually follow it? (That’s an example of how not to follow the Code of Ethics. Because lawyers are people with dignity and worth too….). There was tons more to it, like maintaining confidentiality, not having dual relationships and being culturally competent and I’d love to talk about Ethical Principles, but since I only did the one week B.S.W and not the Ph.D. option, I’m not qualified to teach you about it. Yet. Maybe next week ;)
Basically it was a week full of introspection. Lots of ‘what would you do if…’ scenarios with huge ethical dilemmas! Did I hear someone asking what an ethical dilemma would be? Say you’re a social worker at a health clinic with a limited budget and you only have enough money to help one client. Do you pay for an incubator for a premature infant or a 52-year-old father who needs a heart transplant? We all make Ethical decisions of some degree on a regular basis (organic milk or not? Clothes made in China or Honduras? Driving to the store just to buy a banana?) and don’t always consider the effects. To be a good social worker, I need to develop my critical thinking skills and start to turn my brain on to consciously process things.
So, if I ever get an opportunity to take a breath and think, I should come away from this with an understanding of what my beliefs are (and quite possibly the belief that I should study Philosophy).
‘We are a profession about helping the client be the best person they can be and go on in their lives without needing to see us ever again’
Now I’m going to turn my brain off and try to get a full night’s sleep before Graduate School begins. Professional Practice with Individuals and Families and my Graduate Assistance-ship start tomorrow! Professional Practice with Groups, Foundational Internship, Foundations of Social Justice, Internship at Waco ISD and Work Study at World Hunger Relief Inc. Ready, set, go! Oh, and mail can come to 3201 Kendall Ln, Waco, TX 76705. Care packages can not.