10 answers

What is it like being in the Social Work field?

Asked Carson, California

Can someone give me insight on what they do as a social worker? #social

10 answers

Megan’s Answer


It is fast paced, emotional, rewarding, and NEVER boring! I work in an emergency department, so I perform psychiatric evaluations and assist the doctors on placing patients into psychiatric facilities; I also respond to hospital codes, provide support as doctors give death notices, link patients to resources, and support the clinical staff during traumas. So, that's what I do in a nutshell. I couldn't imagine doing anything else, to be quite honest. I get to work closely with doctors and nurses and even police, make initial diagnoses, complete petitions for involuntary placement, provide crisis intervention counseling, work together with patients and their families, and see literally just about any population group you can imagine. If you're considering social work, medical is a great place to get your feet wet because you will see everything!

Megan recommends the following next steps:

  • Try to shadow a social worker
  • Take some human services courses
  • Volunteer for a social services agency
  • Research BSW/MSW programs
  • There are so many field and sub fields of social work! Medical is my niche. Find yours :)

Anthony’s Answer


Working with people you have to have compassion and know when to draw the line between personal and work, it can be very difficult but also extremely rewarding, empathy is a large part, when working with anyone you need to not only earn their trust but also understand where they’re coming from as well so you can better assess all situations you are dealing with as well as having a strong understanding of policy and professionalism in order to give your best help.

Debbie Yoro’s Answer

Updated Beaverton, Oregon

I've been in the field for over 20 years in various settings but mostly medical or mental health. It's fairly easy to move around between settings (healthcare, mental health, care management, public jobs, employee assistance, etc. ). It provided me with flexibility to move around the country (three states), get licensed in each state and find jobs. There are also many good part time options and per diem options for social workers. This is great for people who have families or a private practice.

Debbie Yoro recommends the following next steps:

  • Get a masters degree if you plan on getting into the field so that you'll have greater options.
  • Find out which positions/jobs have better pay. This is usually: State/Federal/City, large health systems, and mental health.
  • As with most industries, never stop learning. Always look for professional and personal growth.

Judy’s Answer


Social Work is an amazing and diverse career choice. You can work directly with kids, adults or seniors in helping and assisting them with what is difficult in their life. But, you can work in organizations or in government to affect social change. Being a social worker's basic core ideal is to affect change to make people better and our world better too!

Judy recommends the following next steps:

  • volunteer at an organization, like in a hospital, shelter, nursing home, recreation center or an place you've been curious. See if there's a social worker, preferably an MSW working there and see if they can give you a tour and interview.
  • research on line MSW programs: Masters in Social Work. Then call admissions and see if you can get a tour and visit a program.

Ariana’s Answer


Social work is a broad field of study and practice so it really depends on the area one is working in (child welfare, private practice, mental health, medical, policy, etc). Overall though, social work is about helping others find and acquire resources so they can reach maximum potential towards their goals. I love what I do even though at times it may be challenging. I can answer more specific questions if you like as well.

Ariana recommends the following next steps:

  • Specific area of study?

Adrian’s Answer


Being a social worker in the field is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done. As a social worker, your job is to be an advocate for your client. A large part of my job is finding resources for my patients who are struggling with a new cancer diagnosis. Just hearing the word CANCER is scary enough for most people, but add on top all of the unforeseen problems that come along with it. Not to mention any issues the patient was already having before their world got turned upside down. I have to keep a finger on the pulse of my community at all times so that I know what resources are out there. There are always new opportunities opening up, and lots of opportunities that are no longer an option. My work is hard, but seeing the visible relief in a person's eyes when you give them that one resource that will help them get through makes it all worth it.

Adrian recommends the following next steps:

  • If you want to be a social worker, find a field that you think you would enjoy and see if there are any volunteer opportunities available. This will give you a better idea of what it's really like to work in that field, and it can help you make connections (especially for finding an internship location). If the agency has a social worker on staff, talk to him/her. I promise we don't bite, and will most likely be happy to help out another prospective social worker.

Sashka’s Answer

Updated Macedonia (FYROM)

One of the most challenging and rewarding things I have ever done was being a volontary social worker. Social work is an really exciting and challenging carrer which gave me the opportunity to help people overcome difficulties, improve their lives and also improve society as whole. My favourite part are the kids. I love educating and helping kids overcome their problems. Getting to know them and realising that even a 6 year old can have a serious problem is a serious pain, it makes you think "what if this was me" or "what if this was my child" and you do whatever it takes to protect this kid and try to help in any way possible. And the moment we get trough the problem, solve it and overcome it , just seeing the visible rlief on an inoccent child is a blessing and makes every effort worthy.

Eugenia’s Answer

Updated Georgia, Georgia

Selfless service to clients

Eugenia recommends the following next steps:

  • A social worker see' to the holistic welfare of clients, to empower them to function maximally.

Christina’s Answer


To love, listen and to care for extended family and friends that needs the extra support.

Sharday’s Answer


As a social worker I have the training to operate as a coordinator, advocate, liaison, clinician, and broker etc. I wear many hats as a clinician from assessing mental health status, treatment groups, diagnosing and referring.

Sharday recommends the following next steps:

  • If you have additional questions about the field please go to the NASW website to learn more.
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