Everyone needs a little help sometimes. You might think everything is fine until something hits your heart and makes you burst into tears. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any hesitation in asking someone for help. Fortunately, there are professionals out there who can help us become our best versions. These superhuman people are called social workers.
The core value of social work relies on compassion, dignity, and social justice. These individuals are often the only voice for justice and reason in a dysfunctional system. They may focus on personal difficulties within your family or other problems, such as unemployment and homelessness. Sometimes social workers are in charge of conducting research on the issues within the society.
Since the field is broad, there are many specializations within the sector. Each kind of social worker focuses on a subset of the community. For example, child social workers assist children and their families. Comparatively, medical social workers help vulnerable populations cope with chronic diseases.
But, what is the history of this noble profession? And was social work always about improving the quality of life of the public?
A long history of working to improve the quality of life
Social work originated from volunteer efforts to grapple with social issues. Problems such as increasing poverty in prosperous economies illustrated a need for reform within the society. By the 1900s, struggling for social betterment became a recognized profession. Soon, social workers began to work in hospitals, schools, and welfare agencies. In the early 1930s, social workers refocused on the crises of the Great Depression.
As society began to appreciate social workers, the need for formally educated professionals increased. Although previously anyone could enter the field, nowadays recruiters prefer students with an MSW. But, what is MSW?
What Are The Prerequisites To Enter Social Work?
A social worker should have a degree in a related field. Students with advanced degrees such as MSW are better candidates than others.
An MSW is the shortened form of the Master of Social Work degree. These degrees prepare students for the challenging world of social work. Graduates of MSW programs are well-trained for professional practice through work experience.
Fortunately, there are no prerequisites to enroll in an MSW program. Furthermore, many programs are available online. So, attending school is easier than ever before. This flexibility makes it getting a postgraduate degree convenient for working adults. A person can get an MSW degree to enter into the social work sector.
Social workers should also pass certification. They must go through 3000 hours of clinical experience to obtain the license.
How Do Social Workers Improve The Quality Of Life?
At a fundamental level, social work is about advocacy and service. Therefore, the overarching goal of social workers is to promote the well-being of communities. Social workers can make a difference in every field and improve the quality of life.
Quality of life is the degree to which an individual can enjoy their life. High quality of life means that the person is healthy and comfortable.
Social workers improve the quality of life in healthcare
Healthcare institutions are crumbling under the burden of the caseload and an influx of too many patients. Many researchers report a gap in the satisfied service needs within the sector. Therefore, social workers have to step in to bridge this gap. Social workers in nursing homes fulfill the social, mental, and emotional needs of the residents. They also arrange at-home services to plan for the patients after the medical staff sends them home.
Social Workers Improve The Quality Of Life In Schools
In several countries, social workers play a vital role in the child protective system. They are often the first ones who identify and address child abuse and neglect. Therefore, they play a role in the development of a child. They also help juveniles battle with issues such as substance abuse and addiction. Some students suffer from too much stress or emotional problems. Social workers can guide these individuals to help them cope with these issues.
Social Workers Improve The Quality Of Life Suffering From Mental Health Problems
For the past few years, governments are taking note of mental health problems within society. Therefore, many areas have social workers in command of assisting and treating individuals with mental illnesses. Social workers are often in charge of group therapy and social rehabilitation. Mental illnesses prevent people from leading fulfilling lives. Sometimes people have to check into psychiatric facilities for treatment. These people find it difficult to adjust to everyday life when they go home after treatment. Social workers offer social rehabilitation to teach them skills for daily living.
Social Workers Improve The Legislation
There are some sectors of society that are disempowered and ignored. Social workers advocate for these people in their state legislature. And why does this burden fall onto the shoulders of social workers? Because they know how these laws affect the people, and they can provide first-hand accounts to the representatives. Social justice has helped improve several laws. Furthermore, governments have modified sexual harassment and rape laws because of the tireless work of social workers.
A powerful expression asks readers; “if not now, when? If not you, who?” Social workers have always been at the forefront of the fight against injustice. Many of the rights we take for granted are the product of decades of struggle. Even today, social workers spend their lives improving the conditions of our weak, weary, and huddled masses. Social work promotes social change and empowers people. Therefore, social workers are vital for a progressive society.