How to succeed in social care

The start of a new year is always a good time to re-evaluate and reflect on your career, with a particular focus on what is going well, and where there is room for improvement. 

So for all our well-versed social workers, here’s a quick recap of best practices – for our new social workers, here’s how to succeed from the get-go… 

 

Remain client-focused and clear 

 

Listen to what your client has to say – they are the expert on their life and experiences after all. It is also important to be comfortable with asking questions to help you gain clarity where needed. Finally, be clear and honest so that you can manage your clients’ expectations but make sure you are ready to be flexible where necessary or in emergency situations. Remember, you can’t be 5 places at once (as useful as that would be!). 

 

Prioritise self-care 

 

Due to the emotionally demanding nature of being a social worker, it is likely you will burnout, or even experience secondary traumatic stress disorder at some point in your career. Prioritising self-care can help prevent secondary trauma, and help create a clear boundary between work and your personal life. This could look like:

 

  • Doing something you enjoy during your downtime, such as a hobby, exercise class, having a bath, etc. 
  • Be realistic in the fact that helping people who have been through traumatic experiences, also means listening to their stories and staying strong – no matter how distressing their past may have been. While it is part of the job, regularly talking to your supervisor and maintaining healthy habits can help protect your mental health as a social worker. 
  • Set boundaries at work and at home – ensure you’re not biting off more than you can chew in terms of caseloads or household chores etc. 

 

Don’t break the fourth wall 

 

Keep that wall up between you and your clients. What we mean by this is, don’t let their personal issues become yours too. Obviously, your role is to help achieve the best outcome but that doesn’t mean you should go home worrying about something that has nothing to do with you outside of work hours. This also means not taking anything personally – your clients have most likely been through a lot and sometimes you may get the brunt of that. However, it is so important to remain calm and professional. We know it’s easier said than done, but let any negative comments go over your head. Whenever they float back like pesky balloons, push them gently away (or imagine popping them if that makes you feel better!). 

 

Whether this is your first social care rodeo, or you’re just starting out, we wish all our clients the best of luck in their careers this year. Keep doing what you’re doing – you’re all fantastic! 

Still looking for a role or fancy a new challenge? Get in touch with our consultants on 0151 351 5426 today for further info or browse our current vacancies here.

carlette Isaac

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