There are many different disciplines that make up my major of Patient Advocacy, these include Communication Studies, Nursing, Health and Human Performance, Social Work, and Psychology. Despite all of them being essential components to my major, in this post, I want to specifically focus on the field of Social Work, considering I am looking into programs to get my masters in this field. Earlier this semester, I had the opportunity to talk to and interview Dr. Lind, the director of the Social Work department here at Plymouth State University (PSU). During this interview, I received great insight on this discipline and even received some informational packets about the career and program. I ultimately learned that Social Work is a profession that was founded on a set of essential values and principles, including service, social justice, inherent dignity and worth of a person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. For centuries, this field has helped millions of people navigate difficult situations by connecting them to proper resources and demanding institutions show support to those in need!
Normally, people tend to associate either casework or Child Protective Services to the field of Social Work, but it is in fact much larger than that. Social workers have the ability to practice in over a dozen settings, it is broad and diverse, which is great for people, like me, who are pursuing this particular career! Some examples of possible paths to pursue include administration/management, advocacy and community organization, aging and gerontology, substance use, child welfare and family, developmental disabilities, healthcare social work, international social work, justice and corrections, mental health and clinical social work, employee assistance, policy and planning, politics, public welfare, research, and school social work. As can be seen, the options are endless, personally, I am interested in studying either hospice and palliative care, mental health, or healthcare/hospital social work.
My personal experience with the healthcare field and patient advocacy in general is substantial, but
when it comes to Social Work in particular, I do not have much. In fact, to this date, I only have taken one course at PSU that is directly under the Social Work program. Although, I am signed up for Case Management & Advocacy and Mental Health & Society next semester. Despite not taking many courses that directly pertain to Social Work, I have taken care of so many patients within the last 6+ years that I feel I have had a decent amount of contact with the field in general. Over the years, I have seen many issues in hospitals and nursing homes, and the healthcare system as a whole, that has made me want to take action and pushed me towards the field of Advocacy and Social Work. It is an extremely important profession and I look forward to experiencing more of it and hopefully one day help change people’s lives.