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Is a Career in Social Work for Me? – Beverly, LMSW

March is National Social Work Month. Hope Network recognizes and celebrates the significant contributions of our social workers to the communities we serve. Read on to hear about Beverly’s dynamic career path.

Beverly, LMSW, Case Management / Social Work Supervisor – Neuro Rehabilitation, Grand Rapids

THE TIME RIGHT FOR SOCIAL WORK.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

The time is always right, certainly in these times we have experienced so much stress with a variety of issues. It’s really just raised the bar for anxiety in the whole system, and social workers are those folks that help with systems while addressing the psychosocial needs of patients.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN SOCIAL WORK?

In 6th grade I had to write a report on a job I was interested in, and I discovered social work. I thought it was so cool that they would pay you to help people.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN SOCIAL WORK?

As social workers, we integrate this idea of self-determination for the patient, in making sure that all the parts and pieces are working together to meet their goals. It can be easy for someone new in the field to get overwhelmed. Remembering to always take care of yourself, while also keeping in mind that the person survived before you got there and will after, is very important.

COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOB DUTIES AND THE POPULATION YOU SUPPORT?

In Neuro Rehabilitation, we serve those with brain and spinal cord injuries as well as neuro disorders. As the supervisor/manager, I hold the vision for our department and want to support my team members in their work as well as teach and mentor, that’s part of my job. I talk with my team frequently about how we get to choose our culture, I help us to define how we want to perform and what is keeping us motivated to meet all of our benchmarks. I also carry a case load. It’s our job as case managers to bring all of the necessary systems to help patients and their families move along the transition from residential to long term.

WHAT WAS YOUR EDUCATION/ LICENSING PATH?

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work > Master of Arts in Social Work, Health Concentration, University of Illinois at Chicago > Licensing first received in the state of Illinois

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST FULFILLING ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION?

I really like the program development and being able to provide supervision and mentoring. Earlier in my career, it was walking alongside people, especially when they have that “aha” moment, when we made discharge plans, when a family member was able to walk them to the end of life, when we found resolutions, and when people found their peace. Overall, I enjoy working with a multi-disciplinary team, we all coordinate to benefit the patient in the way they need it most. I think the role of the social workers in the medical field is to lift up the human part; we get to take a step back and take in the whole person, their family, and the social dynamics – and its honorable represent that.

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