by JoEllen Revell, LCSW, VSC Program Director
As we enter into Social Work Month, March, it’s important to consider the mission of the profession, per the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the mission of social work is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. So how can such an insurmountable mission be achieved? To be able to achieve such a powerful mission of social work begins with knowing the core values of the profession.
As the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective, they are- service; social justice; dignity and worth of the person; importance of human relationships; integrity; and competence. In my role as VSC’s Program Director, I have the privilege of working amongst a direct care team that is mission driven and together we strive to assist vulnerable people to enhance their human well-being by way of healing from trauma and victimization. Healing is contextual to the person and we follow the VSC mission to provide individualized care those we serve. In doing so our staff must consider the context in which the individual is living, how the individual was raised, their ability to manage and cope and is willing to do receive help.
Just as we consider the strengths/ needs of the individuals we serve, we also must look at ourselves as we do the work in order to continuously adhere to ethical practice. As direct care professionals we must consider the importance of boundaries as vital because we are working on a deep level with vulnerable people. This means that we have a responsibility to them to do things to the best of our ability and to ensure that our help and support does not damage or disenfranchise them.
(Cooper, 2012) As individual social work providers, we need to be in check with our emotions and recognize the burden of the work can be stressful and draining, so professional boundaries are needed to manage ourselves. As supervisors, we play a vital role in modeling, coaching, and engaging in frequent discussions with workers on topical issues and assurance of proper boundaries in the worker and client relationship. Sound, competent and ethical care is cornerstone to the role of social workers in order to empower those we serve. As professional colleagues, we value the skills and talents of our counterparts to support the effort of social work practice. Mission achievement could not be done without other members of the VSC team including, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Nursing professionals.
Whether you are a social worker, another helping profession or an individual who has received assistance from a social worker; during this Social Work Month, please take a moment to thank a social worker for their contributions to empowering people.
Thank you to our VSC Social Workers:
JoEllen Revell, LCSW
Emily Collins, MSW
Maria Nunez, MSW
Steven Wilson, MSW Intern