7 Things You Didn’t Know About Social Workers & The Stories That Shape Their Careers
March is National Social Work Month and KVC is joining the National Association of Social Workers to recognize the powerful, positive impact our clinical team members and social workers have on their clients and communities! Social workers across the globe work hard to ensure all people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We celebrate and appreciate our incredible clinical team and social workers who do life-changing work with the children and families KVC serves every single day.
Interested in feeling the joy and purpose that comes from helping others? Check out careers with KVC Hospitals.
Many people experience overwhelming challenges such as mental illness, trauma, substance misuse, poverty, homelessness, unemployment and more every day. Luckily, highly-trained, caring professionals are ready and willing to help these people overcome difficult obstacles and live a healthy, happy life.
Social workers, therapists, case managers, hospital admissions coordinators, and other helping professionals provide crucial support to children, adults and families in need. Social work is not an easy field to work in, but it is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career path. Here are seven things you didn’t know about social workers:
1. Social workers do more than help people
Having a passion for helping others is important, but being a social worker requires so much more. People who are experiencing the most vulnerable time in their lives rely on social workers to connect them with resources and find solutions to complex problems. Social workers use their skills and expertise to promote mental wellness, strengthen relationships, and end generational cycles of trauma and substance use, ultimately creating healthier families and communities.
2. Social workers are in it for the outcome, not the income
Being a social worker is not going to make you financially rich. Many professionals are drawn to the field because they are passionate about helping others and doing meaningful work. That said, social workers deserve competitive compensation packages for the valuable contributions they make. At KVC, we continually look for ways to increase pay, benefits, training, and support to attract and retain the very best social workers.
3. Social workers contribute at all levels of society
Social work is a broad, diverse field where the work extends across many settings. These professionals work with individuals, families, schools, universities, nonprofit agencies, corporations, hospitals and government agencies. They are also active in politics at all levels. Social workers advocate for legislation and policies that improve the quality of life for children and adults.
4. Social workers provide a majority of America’s mental health services
According to a study conducted by HealthAffairs, professional social workers are estimated to be the largest group of mental health service providers in the United States. In fact, social workers are often the only mental health care providers in many rural and remote communities. There are more clinically trained social workers than psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses combined.
5. Self-care is an important part of the job
Maintaining physical, mental, and emotional wellness is vital for everyone, but self-care is an essential practice for social workers. The likelihood of job fatigue is very high in this field. Many organizations require social workers to schedule self-care activities that reduce stress and mitigate burnout.
6. There are male social workers
Many think women dominate the social work field. However, there are lots of male social workers and many are in leadership positions. The country needs more men in the social work field. Social work requires a balanced, diverse mix of people able to help a diverse population.
7. The U.S. needs more social workers
The demand for mental/behavioral health and substance use treatment is increasing in the midst of a well-documented national social worker shortage. With fewer social workers, those who are in the field experience larger caseloads and higher levels of burnout and turnover. More experienced social workers are needed and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of social workers will grow 13% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Read Stories From KVC’s Incredible Social Workers & Clinical Team Members
KVC Hospitals has clinical staff and social workers who perform critical roles in diverse positions across our hospitals and residential treatment programs. Below, we share stories some of our team members have shared about their experiences with children and families through their years of service.
Brynn Fowler, LMSW
Director of Administration, KVC Hospitals Kansas City
During my clinical internship with KVC Hospitals Kansas City, I worked with a nine-year-old girl for close to a year. When it came time for her to be discharged from our residential treatment program, there were tough weather conditions on the morning of her discharge, and we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to each other. But she did write me a letter, thanking me for my time and commitment to her and for helping her reach her treatment goals. A year later, this young girl experienced a mental health crisis and was admitted to our hospital in Wichita for inpatient acute treatment. I just happened to be at our Wichita hospital providing support on some projects and saw this client while I was there. As soon as she saw me, she ran up to me to give me a hug. She told me all about her family, how they were doing, and told me that she had felt ‘off’ lately. She said she told her guardian that she needed to go to KVC for support to get feeling better. Her ability to recognize that she needed help and recognize KVC as a safe space for her to heal made me so proud. It also felt really good to know that she remembered me and that I had made a lasting, positive impact on her life.
Therapist, KVC Hospitals Wichita
One of my clients explained depression to me in a way that I had not considered before, and it changed how I now talk with my other clients about depression. He drew a line showing the ups and downs of everyday life and then drew a line going straight down before stopping and then dropping even further until it went off the bottom of the page. I asked him how he had been able to survive when his grief and hopelessness were so overwhelming, and he said that he didn’t know. He said he felt like someone was finally listening to him and understood what he was saying. Ever since then, when a client is struggling with depression, I ask clients to draw a line showing how their moods change over time. I also use it to ask clients about what skills or decisions help them move the line upward, even if it isn’t all the way up to where it was, so each improvement can be celebrated and acknowledged.
Alexandra Beineman, LMSW
Staff Development Coordinator, KVC Hospitals
I worked with an adolescent who had a long history of struggling with her behavioral and mental health. Family therapy was a large part of my treatment process with her, and in most sessions both her mother and grandmother would be there. The commitment this family had to not only supporting this child but also understanding generational trauma and breaking the trauma cycle was admirable. Often, mental health is a family challenge, meaning the effects, symptoms, and stressors reach far beyond the child we are directly caring for. To have the whole family show up ready to do their part in healing the family unit and preventing the struggles for future generations was humbling. This story always reminds me of why we do the work we do—as social workers, therapists, at KVC. It’s why I do this work. It’s important that we keep showing up, keep learning, and keep finding new ways to help and serve.
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About KVC Hospitals
KVC Hospitals provides compassionate and innovative treatment for children struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the impacts of trauma, and other behavioral or mental health needs. Our children’s hospitals and residential treatment centers accept new clients 24/7 and are always available to answer any questions you have. Call us at 913-890-7468 or click here to find a location near you.