Happy Social Work Month!

I am proud to be a social worker, and I’m sure if you’re reading this article, you are too. I hope you take this month to educate people on what social workers are and do, recognize and celebrate the hard work that you do, and take some time to relax and socialize with other social workers.

There are Social Work Month events going on across the state. Check out the Social Work Month Celebrations section of this newsletter to find an event near you. I hope you can join us, and perhaps you can bring a friend.

In celebration of this month, I have decided to write a BuzzFeed-inspired Top 10 List. I hope you enjoy it.

Emily Kenney
President, NASW- WI 

Top 10 Reasons I Love Social Workers

  1. You’re Smart.

I always enjoy talking to social workers because they challenge and inspire me. We can talk about something going on with a client, in my family, or in the world and I always hear interesting, poignant points. The field of social work forces us to think about things from many different perspectives, which makes us smarter, I think. 

  1. You’re diverse.

I don’t think there is any other field that is as diverse as social work in terms of the types of activities people engage in after getting their degree. Social workers are everywhere- in schools, working in end-of-life care, in hospitals, in small and large businesses, in small towns, big cities, and around the world. And social workers are doing clinical work, care management, supervision, advocacy and politics. The diversity of the field is something we should be proud of.

  1. You’re clinical.

Even if you aren’t working in a specifically clinical setting, the clinical aspect of social work cannot be missed. Social workers make better supervisors because they can see things in a clinical way. (I have found that supervising is at least 50% dealing with people’s varying interpersonal skills.) Social workers are better equipped to understand the consequences to macro-level changes through legislature or other policy because they understand the clinical aspects of individual’s lives. And, I think social workers make the best clinical therapists because of our unique ability to see the whole problem. Which brings me to #7…

  1. You’re holistic.

Social workers never see clients or problems in a vacuum, they are always striving to see the whole picture. I think that this is one of social work’s strengths, because in reality, nothing and no one exists in a vacuum.

  1. You have a breadth of knowledge.

A social worker’s hunt for knowledge never ceases to amaze me. The foundation for this is laid in social work school, where we learn all about how different systems work. We pick a concentration in school, but we never stay inside that bubble. A clinical social worker is knowledgeable about school systems because they affect her clients; a child protective services social worker is knowledgeable about alcohol and other drugs because he has families affected by them; a hospital social worker knows about the housing system in her community because so many of her patients need those resources. Social workers rarely stay in their bubble.

  1. You follow a motivating Code of Ethics.

To get to work every day toward Service, Social Justice, Dignity and Worth of a Person, the Importance of Human Relationships, Integrity, and Competence is just awesome, in my book.

  1. You’re adaptable.

There is never a better group of people to spring change on than social workers, especially if that change creates a new barrier or challenge. Social workers excel at figuring out work-arounds, creatively thinking up new solutions to a problem, and adapting to what’s around them for the good of their client.

  1. You advocate.

Complacency is not a word used to describe social workers. I don’t think it’s in your blood. You’re always advocating for making things better–and you don’t stop until things are better. And in the meantime, you find a way to make things work in the situation you’re in. See number 4.

  1. You tackle the hard problems.

I often hear social workers in large, multi-disciplinary settings say “They give us all the impossible cases.” I say you should wear that as a badge of honor! When other professionals don’t know what to do; when a family doesn’t know where else to turn; when a person is at the end of their rope, they call a social worker. Because they know a social worker has the skill to solve problems within their contexts, and they know a social worker will influence change on multiple levels to fix it. People see that nothing is impossible for a social worker.

  1. You’re tireless.

I am so energized every time I’m in a room of social workers. You don’t stop. You don’t get discouraged. You keep fighting the good fight, wherever you are. I am so proud to call myself a Social Worker.