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Career Story: Psychiatric Social Worker In A Hospital

Psychiatric Social Worker In A Hospital

Job Title: Psychiatric Social Worker

Type of Company: I work at a large teaching hospital in Boston, Ma

Education: Masters in Social Work, Boston College

Previous Experience: Clinical laboratory technical

Job Tasks: I work on a consulting service in a large hospital on the Addiction Psychiatry Service. Our team is made up of social workers and psychiatrists. We are asked by doctors to see their patients who have or may have a problem with drugs or alcohol.

We meet the patients in their rooms and talk with them about their lives, particularly about any substances they may be using. If a person reports that drugs or alcohol are a problem in their life, we help them get into treatment to learn skills to be clean and sober.

Some patients do not think they have a problem so we may try to connect the reason they are in the hospital to their substance use. For instance - a person may have liver disease because of drinking, but they may not want to see the drinking as the cause.

Some patients may also have a mental health issue that contributes to their substance use - depression and anxiety disorders for instance. If so we try to see that they have mental health treaters in place when they leave the hospital.

Our team also works with hospital staff to help them understand substance abuse/addiction disorders so that they can work with these patients in a compassionate way.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: Meeting many interesting diverse individuals and helping people receive the care/treatment they need to live better lives.

the worst part is the limited services in the community. There are not enough programs, especially residential treatment facilities or detox facilities to meet the need.

Job Tips:
1. If you are interested in becoming a social worker try to spend some time volunteering. working with people that may be very different for yourself and who may be struggling with severe issues (financial, legal, mental health, substance abuse). This will help you get a feeling for the diverse problems you would encounter. It also looks good on the application to grad school.

Additional Thoughts: Many of the issues social workers encounter are difficult or impossible to change. People have their own agenda, not ours, even if they are putting themselves in harms way over and over again. Being able to understand and tolerate a person's right to do what they want can be difficult when we see is as detrimental to their wellbeing.

However, the times that you make a difference in someone's life or they allow you into their very private intimate lives with a shared goal of change, can be tremendously rewarding.

To be successful as a social worker it is important to know yourself. Every button you have will be pushed and the more you understand your own issues the better you will be at helping others

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