Social Work Observation Report
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Keywords: social worker shadowing, social work reflection
This essay will demonstrate a clear understanding of what the social work role is by reflecting on my shadowing experience and using this experience to provide a view of the differences between social work and social care.
On October the 11th I was able to shadow a social worker on the sensory services team in Gloucestershire, whilst shadowing I was able to observe the social worker on two home visits. The first visit required the gathering of information from a carer to fill out a Carers Emergency Scheme plan. The second visit involved the completion of a Carers Assessment.
Explain the role of the social worker observed, the difference in the social work role to that of a care role
The role of my social worker was to assess the needs of the service users and also the needs of their carer's. She was also able to give them some equipment such as a day light lamp to enhance the ability to read, however, I was informed by the social worker that she was in a different position than most social workers and that the ability to provide specialised equipment is an unusual opportunity for social workers.
The role of a carer would contrast from this as a carer would have been able to support them with practical help.
Skills for Care (2010) stated that 'Social care work is about helping people with their lives. People who have physical or psychological problems often require practical help coping with the everyday business of life. Social care provides this practical care.' (cited in Trevithick, 2012). IFSW (2006:9) depicts that 'The term 'social workers' refers to those workers trained to asses and respond to people with complex personal and social needs. It is a protected title and can only be used to refer to those who are qualified and registered and hold a social work qualification recognised by the General Social Care Council (GSCC) …Social workers carry out a variety of tasks, including casework, acting as an advocate, risk assessment and working as a care manager. As a profession, social work promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.' (cited in Trevithick, 2012).
These two definitions show a clear contrast between social care and social work but there is an evident overlap with the two roles, however, the professional accountability and legal requirements of a social worker implies a high importance that these two roles have clear distinctions.
Where possible insights gained into service user's and carer's experience/perceptions of the service provided by the agency
At the end of the first visit the lady was unclear on what a she was supposed to do so my social worker sat back down and explained to her that she had nothing to do and that she had nothing to worry about, this comment was repeated by the service user but I believe that this made the service user relax.
On my second visit the gentleman that is caring for his wife got his calendar out to fix a date for the social worker to visit again, he told my social worker that he was busy on the day that she wanted to visit but said he would cancel his plans as he would much rather see her, I found this comment heart-warming. On this visit my social worker was able to provide the lady with a day light lamp to aid her sight when reading, I believe this was a good experience for the service user as she seemed very impressed with the lamp and read us her paper without the use of her magnifying glass. The gentleman also comment a few times about my social worker filling in the forms for him and that he would look at the next form but would wait and let her fill it in whilst she read out the questions, I think this showed that he had confidence in the ability of that social worker and that he trusted her.
Discussion points raised about the work of the agency, its legislative and policy context
When I spoke to the social worker about legislations and policies I was informed that this was a hard question to answer as there are numerous legislations that have to be consider when working for the sensory team, reciting them all would not be possible. I was told that the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 was one that could be remembered and then I was offered a printed copy of their policy that related to assessments. According to Horner (2006) the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 sought to change the balance of care with four key directions which gave the local authorities the responsibility to make plans to meet the needs identified in partnership with user and carers and to assess the needs of those requesting care. Davis (2012) states within the guide to adult assessment in Gloucestershire that people are put at the middle of the decision making with self-directed support, this allows choice and control over services that are received and who provides it. The carers assessment section seems relevant to my shadowing experience as this is what I observed, this section comments on the opportunity for the carer to give their perspective about the service user, approaching the identification and management of risk positively, procedures of safe guarding are explained and followed if this is an issue, establishing if support is available and would be maintained and an encourage discussion for carers to have a Carers Needs Assessment.
Outline how the experience links to the Professional Capabilities Framework and Standards of Proficiency
The social work reform board developed the professional capabilities framework (PCF) to provide foundations for social work education and to support development after qualification. The PCF sets out the capabilities required, at every stage of career, for social workers in England (The college of social work). Social work knowledge, understanding and abilities are set out within the standards of proficiency, which was developed by the health and care council alongside the professional liaison group. In addition to this the PCF and the standards of proficiency both describe the expectations of social workers when they reach the end of their training and start practising (Health and care professions council). The shadowing experience links to the PCF as it allowed me to gain a better understanding of the social work role it also enhanced my ability to communicate on a professional level with emails and face to face conversations. This experience would also link to the standards of proficiency due to the knowledge and understanding gained by observing a qualified social worker.
There are important differences between social work and social care and it is of high importance that these differences are not overlooked.
Policies and legislations used within an agency seem complex and numerous however, the policies of a particular area allow these complications to be simplified
PCF and standards of proficiency have many immeasurably positive links to the experience and opportunity to shadow a social worker.
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