Social Work is a challenging, yet extremely rewarding career. We got in contact with Marvin, a social worker in Cambridge, and asked him to provide us with an honest insight into his role.
Why did you choose to be a social worker?
I made this choice having spent a few years as a mental health nurse. I had become burnt-out, due to the physical, emotional and psychological impact of nursing adults with very severe and enduring mental illness. However, coming into social work introduced me to and trained me in the workings of the social model of care, which, for me, is far more liberating and empowering compared to the medical model – hence more job satisfaction. I also decided to do social work so I could develop my career further.
Was it difficult to get into the profession?
I did not find it difficult. From when I first registered with an agency, to the point of starting work it must have been, at most, a month.
What was your first task on your first day?
After all the introductions and training required to help me settle in, my first task was to shadow another social worker in the team. This was good for me as I managed to observe and learn hands on what is expected from social workers in the team.
What does a typical day look like?
For me, a typical day involves having the independence to plan and structure my case work. I start quite early if I am on visits and my usual plan is to do as many visits as possible on one day and then the next day I write it up. If I am working from home, I normally start writing up my assessments from about 7.30am (which is the time I usually leave home if going to the office) and I finish around 6pm (which is the time I usually get home if I have been in work and have driven home). Working from home for me personally gives me more choice and control, and I can complete at least three full assessments a day.
What is the working atmosphere like?
The atmosphere is very good and the managers, seniors and staff are all helpful. It’s a small team, and we all know each other.
What is the most rewarding part of the job?
The best part is going out and leaving adults happy and empowered by my visit and when something goes wrong, being honest, learn and try and resolve this.
What is the most challenging part?
Well for me I take challenges exactly as they are and I do all it takes to overcome them. So, in theory I hardly face any challenges, as I have the skills and the support needed from my team to deal with them.
What is the most important aspect of your job?
The most important aspect is safeguarding adults, ensuring they have enough care to support their health and wellbeing, and ensuring that the limited social care resources we have are used appropriately.
How has your work changed a service user’s life?
I had an adult who wanted to remain in her home and have more choice and control via a direct payment. I managed to make the arrangements and plan for the direct payment to be set up. I recently had contact from her family to sadly informed me of her death, but they expressed how grateful they were of my role. They were very appreciative of my support and that’s the satisfaction I get.
The three best moments of your career?
Being able to settle into a new team like Cambridge, having more adults happy and satisfied with my support and engagement in their lives and just being able to get along with my colleagues which is very important for the team and my own progress.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a social worker?
The best advice is that never think you are better than anyone else and always be prepared to accept criticism as this will help to mould and change your practice. In terms of working for Cambridge I can safely say, come and join the team, it’s full of support, humour and Cambridge, after all, is one of the most educated areas of the UK so it’s a great place to be.
If you are interested in becoming a social worker, click here to visit our job descriptions and register now! Call us on 03301 242800 or email us on [email protected] to discuss how we can help you.