Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're #1! We're #1!

While surfing the CNN.com website, I found a link that read Stressful jobs that pay badly. Clicking the link, I was not surprised to see what was number one on the list.

Being number one on this list is not something we should be proud of as social workers. Furthermore, a person with a masters degree should not be making $12 an hour. I understand that social workers are not in it for the money, but it becomes unacceptable when people with education levels this high can barely afford to support themselves.

As social workers, we are constantly advocating for the needs of our clients. It's time we advocated more for ourselves in ensuring better wages and working conditions. What kind of social workers would we be if we couldn't help ourselves?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


One of the nice things about this practicum is that when flu season comes around, all employees, volunteers, and interns receive free flu vaccines. Unfortunately, everytime I have tried to get vaccinated in the past three weeks the hospital has been completely out. This is despite the fact that social workers are on the priority list to receive them.

Today, my supervisor called the employee health office and was told that the vaccine was available. However, it was FluMist, the nasal spray. My supervisor was wary about getting this vaccine because unlike the normal flu shot, the nasal spray uses a weakened virus as opposed to a dead one. She decided to wait until the normal shot was available, and said that it was up to me if I wanted to get the FluMist vaccine.

After reading more information about FluMist on the CDC website and looking at numerous news articles, I was still undecided over whether to take the spray. There seemed to be a number of conflicting reports regarding its effectiveness compared to the regular shot. I then decided to call my mom, a nurse, who proceeded to talk to her co-workers and a nurse practitioner. They all agreed that I should be okay, but to be aware that I may have some side effects. Given my luck with getting the flu vaccine these past few weeks, I decided to just get it over with already. For me, a moderate amount of protection is certainly better than no protection at all.

During my lunch break, I drove over to the employee health clinic and the nurse sprayed both my nostrils with FluMist. Since I was between the ages of 2-49, not pregnant, and without chronic health conditions I qualified for the spray. It was an extremely painless process, and I recall no unpleasant taste of smell. It was also a quick process, as I was in and out of the office in less than five minutes. So far I have had so side-effects, but those might not show up for a few hours. If all goes well, I would recommend FluMist as a way to protect oneself against the seasonal flu without the pain of needles.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feculence happens

Every Wednesday, I sit in on patient case conferences. At my practicum, this is where the doctor, nurses, social worker, and speech, physical, occupational, and recreational therapists sit down and discuss each patients needs one by one. The dynamic essentially parallels to that of a corporate business meeting, with the doctor serving as the CEO and everyone else pitching ideas. For each patient, the doctor ultimately has the final say and signs off on all the necessary paperwork.

Anyway, during today's meeting we were discussing the bowel problems of a particular patient. One therapist detailed how this person basically saturated a diaper, along with her hand, with human by-product. Everyone in the room looked at her sympathetically and joked about how they hoped she got paid extra for her experience. While these exchanges took place I quietly sat in my seat, in the process of consuming an angel food cupcake and attempting not to visualize what she had just described. Later in the meeting, someone commented that the rash between a different patient's buttocks had the same yellow color as the frosting of another cupcake sitting on the table. Fortunately, the cupcake I was eating at the time had blue frosting.

Now one might wonder why am I writing about such less palatable things on my blog. When I entered my MSW program, I knew that I ultimately wanted a job that allowed me to work in a hospital and use the medical model of social work. I essentially wanted to avoid anything that involved stabbing people with needles, slicing them open with scalpels, and cleaning up various forms of human waste - things that deterred me from pursuing other medical occupations. As of now I have yet to see anything too disgusting, though there are times I find myself trying not to hold my breath or gag while in a patients' room. Knowing that other practitioners in my unit regularly handle sights and smells I am still learning to tolerate, I have a much greater respect for them and am glad that I do not have to do their job.

My apologies to anyone who was eating while reading this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A new beginning...

Hello, and welcome to my blog! This blog is project I have been putting off for a while now, but how that I've started I hope that I can keep up with regular updates and practice my writing!

The main purpose of this blog will be to document by various exploits as a social work student and ultimately as social worker. Additionally, I hope to incorporate a number about different ways I save money. Given that I am entering a profession that is notoriously underpaid, buying things I want at the cheapest price possible has conveniently become a new hobby of mine. While the majority of my posts will pertain to these social work and money issues, I'm probably end up posting other random things as well. I like to keep my options open.

Anyway, I suppose I should talk a little bit about myself. I am currently in my final year of a two year MSW program. My subject emphasis is mental health, with a research interest in mental health issues among college aged students. My practicum is at a local hospital's inpatient rehab facility, where I do discharge planning for victims of stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other illnesses/accidents. I hope to work for a hospital or the federal government when I graduate next May.

In the little free time I have these days I pursue my other passion in life - music. I currently play percussion in a local wind ensemble and maintain participation in various musical ensembles from my undergraduate alma mater. During my lunchbreaks at practicum, I sneak into the patient dining area to practice piano or play for patients. When I have more free time, I hope to start taking music lessons again!

Well, I guess I'll leave it at that for now. Hope to post more updates soon!