Degree and university: Social work, North Middlesex University
Job title: Hospital social worker, London Borough of Enfield
What does your job involve?
I am part of the duty assessment team. A referral could come to us under section 17 of the Children’s Act, which protects children in need. A manager will allocate a case to a social worker and sometimes we have to complete an initial assessment within seven days. Another element of the job is to attend weekly meetings with doctors and other medical staff to discuss any children attending the hospital that week. For example, sometimes the child may have been intoxicated or self–harmed.
What was your motivation in choosing this career?
I was a family centre worker for about 16 years in West Yorkshire and London. I decided to do a social work degree as I wanted to work with families from the point of referral to the end result. One reason for choosing the career is that I have a passion for working with children and families. I was one of Enfield’s "grow your own scheme" a government scheme to encourage people employed by a local authority to go into a social care career.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I like the fact we’re very much at the frontline and the work is varied. At times, the work can be demanding but I enjoy the challenges it brings. I also enjoy learning new things, particularly on the medical side. Working in a hospital, we are learning medical terminology and I find that stimulating.
What is the most challenging aspect?
Making a difference in people’s lives, particularly having an impact on children’s lives. It is also challenging meeting timescales and managing my workload.
And the worst part?
I like my job, so it’s difficult to say what the worst part is. Sometimes you are overloaded; I don’t like it when things are not organised. I like clear directions and to be managed appropriately.
What advice would you give to readers considering a job in your field?
You’ve got to be open to a challenge; if you are it can be very rewarding emotionally. When you’re on the frontline it can be very demanding; but the satisfaction that comes with a good piece of work outweighs everything. You should also look for a job with good supervision – regular support from higher management is important – without that you can’t do a good job.