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A Social Worker’s Experience and Lessons

Introduction

The experience of a social worker represents a unique amalgamation of research, cross-cultural experiences, and meticulous analysis of provided information. Therefore, for a social worker, it is vital to gain proper experience in a number of areas so that the skills for meeting the needs of as diverse an audience as possible could be obtained. By examining different scenarios and studying the sociocultural factors shaping the choice of the intervention, one can build a model for counseling that will guide individuals toward managing their specific issues.

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Positive Internship Experiences

Delving into the personal experience and lessons learned while having it, I must mention the time spent providing support for teenage mothers and their children. Supporting the specified demographic has been a vital and formative experience for me as a professional since it implied evaluating and addressing the needs of the demographic that was entirely new to me. In addition, since the needs of both mothers and their children had to be managed, which implied a drastic difference in the age of the specified population, she processes of providing social services was especially challenging and exciting.

Considering the aspects of the work that were of particular importance to me as a social worker and represented a pivoting moment in my practice, I should address the social factors that defined the lives of the target demographic. Namely, due to the negative social perception of young mothers, teenage mothers with children face particularly difficult challenges to overcome (Aparicio et al., 2018). In turn, as a social worker and an expert in the field, I offered counseling and support by assisting in building resilience and strategies needed to overcome social contempt using the Community Wellness Model (Popple & Leighninger, 2018). Specifically, the opportunity to create trust between a social worker and a customer, as well as focus on building confidence and resilience was used. Knowing that my pieces of advice would help these young women in their efforts to navigate the social environment and thrive even in a hostile setting made me feel truly happy.

Undesirable Social Work Areas

As seen from the description above, working with the elderly is a suitable task for me as a social worker, and I will be happy to be provided with a similar assignment. However, as asocial worker, I will be unable to be selective in my choice of customers. Therefore, in a range of situations, I will need to choose the issues about which I feel much less passionate. Personally I find two areas of social work particularly unappealing; these are working with abuse victims and prisoners. Though the two demographics in question do not overlap, they share some of the characteristics that I find particularly difficult to manage when addressing their concerns.

Specifically, working with abuse victims represents a massive emotional challenge and an even greater responsibility for a social worker. Apart form being an exceptionally challenging process that requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and a proper understanding of the nuances of patients’ cultural backgrounds, the specified situation also requires outstanding cross-cultural communicative skills. Namely, by integrating the skills in question into the process of managing patients’ needs to an even greater extent will demand the level of emotional involvement that I personally consider unhealthy.

Therefore, due to the presence of strong personal aversion to the specified area of social work, I am likely to face tangible difficulties establishing rapport with the target population. As a result, drop in the quality of communication and the efficacy of managing patients’ needs is likely to occur.

Desirable Social Work Areas

While working with prisoners and substance abuse patients represents the type of tasks that I feel particularly reluctant to handle, some of the areas of social work appeal to me immensely, making me feel enthusiastic and excited about my job. Specifically, I enjoy working with the elderly, as I have discovered during my internship, and I am perfectly ready and willing to develop new skills for supporting the specified demographic. First, supporting the needs of senior citizens as one of the most vulnerable groups imbued my work with especially poignant sense, allowing me to approach it with inspiration and enthusiasm. Indeed, there is no secret that aging people become exceptionally vulnerable due to the rise in the range of health risks and the challenges in performing basic tasks. In turn, extending support to them gave my professional performance an especially important purpose.

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In addition, catering to the needs of the elderly seems rather easy to me while also leaving enough room for the opportunities of building cultural competence and learning to manage patients’ needs properly. As a result, it is often necessary to approach the same task from different perspectives when catering to the needs of different customers. As a result, critical insights into the specifics of the target population’s cultural backgrounds became possible.

Finally, building a rapport with the target community and creating a communication channel for continuous health-related education and the provision of the necessary support is truly exciting. Although it took quite a while for me to encourage the development of the sills needed to manage innovative communication tools in the target audience, the dialogue itself was inspiring and thought-provoking, with multiple insights into the customers’ experience and the identification of the opportunities of learning.

Welfare Policy

As a social worker, one must provide support based on the established and tested models for building social well-being. Therefore, observing the current social welfare environment and keeping track of new policies that emerge in it to meet the needs of vulnerable groups is vital for a social worker. In the context of the modern sociocultural environment, the issue of pandemic and its management has been at the center of the attention of most social workers since it has created additional impediments to the effective management of vulnerable groups’ needs. Moreover, the pandemic has exacerbated the situation in which a range of struggling individuals have found themselves, which implies that extra measures must be applied to focus on meeting the needs of customers in the context of Covid-19. In turn, the UN’s response in the form of the social assistance spending as a major UN program has helped to manage some of the short-term social wellness concerns, while also aggravating long-term issues.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the social assistance spending program designed by the UN, implies providing support to those that are at the poverty threshold due to the rapid development of the coronavirus. According to the program description, while it has been applied ion the U.S. widely to ensure that people facing the threat of poverty would not lose their property and other assets, UNDP has also been designed to be applied globally to support people in developing countries, where poverty is rampant (United Nations, 2021). Therefore, the UNDP framework can be regarded as an important contribution to the current set of measures aimed at addressing social and economic injustice.

Policy Analysis

Descriptive Analysis

Definition

UNDP was designed to contain the rampant rise in poverty observed globally after the emergence of the 2000s crisis. The specified definition can be seen as rather general, yet it encompasses the essence of UNDP as a socioeconomic measure.

Intention

The main intent behind the development of UNDP was to reduce the risk of poverty in U.S. and Europe while supporting those in the third-world countries. Although being well-meaning, the specified intention is quite broad. Thus, the task of addressing the needs of people in developing countries may be hampered.

Goals

Similarly, the goals of UNDP, which can be summarized as poverty prevention caused by the economic collapse, are rather vague. Failing to single out the key sociocultural characteristics of vulnerable groups in question, it may lose its efficacy.

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Means

The program seeks to support vulnerable communities with the help of social assistance spending, which is a clear and efficient strategy.

Delivery Structure

Comparing the application of the UNDP policy in two different settings will shed light on some of its shortcomings, as well as the existing opportunities of improving it. Specifically, in the context of developed states, the UNDP framework has been working quite well in reducing the threat of poverty and homelessness in individuals that have sustained damage from the pandemic.

In turn, in developing countries, the situation remains dire despite the introduction of the policy. Due to the lack of opportunities for spending on social protection strategies, poorer countries have been unable to utilize the resources provided with the help of UNDP (United Nations, 2021). Therefore, the policy effects have been mostly mediocre.

Historical Analysis

Another approach for assessing the UNDP initiative concerns comparing it to another approach used in the past to address a similar situation. The application of the historical analysis framework might be quite tricky since the coronavirus pandemic is a unique phenomenon. Nevertheless, certain trends can be spotted when comparing the UNDP policy to other measures adopted by the UN. Specifically, the policy of the UN Zika virus response confirmed that the described measures serve primarily the needs of first-world countries, while leaving very little impact on developing ones (“A socio-economic impact assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname,” 2017). Therefore, the application of the historical analysis shows that the policy in question functions in the same way as similar UN policies have worked before, namely, by introducing a homogenous framework for promoting welfare globally. Although the specified approach leads to noticeable improvements, it mostly fails to recognize the presence of economic inequality, which ultimately leads to poor countries suffering the effects of a disaster more strongly.

Social Problem Analysis

Finally, the efficacy of the UNDP needs to be assessed from the perspective of the Social Problem Analysis. First, the boundaries of the policy must be determined according to Popple and Leighninger (2018). For UNDP, these boundaries are defined by the current standards for poverty threshold (United Nations, 2021). Other characteristics can hardly apply since the coronavirus affects every single person on the planet, their economic, demographic, political, or sociocultural background notwithstanding. Next, the social component needs to be identified, which can be described as the presence of social hierarchy and the class structure that places certain members of the population in economically insecure conditions. The facts related to the problem include the lack of available resources and social support for vulnerable groups, as well as their exposure to potential fraud. Finally, social factors defining the problem include unavailability of proper education opportunities for the vulnerable population.

Forces Promoting the Policy

Developed by the UN, the UNDP policy is promoted by it and its idea of equity for the global community. Therefore, the continuous focus on equality and the demand for equity and social justice within the global community can be regarded as the primary forces determining the further enforcement of the policy in question. Among other sociocultural contributors to the enhancement of the policy, one should mention the presence of social hierarchy that splits the population into classes, therefore, affecting the distribution of wealth and creating premises for inequality (United Nations, 2021). Although the policy in question does not seek to dismantle the existing power structures, it recognizes their presence and their effect on the well-being of the target demographic.

In addition, apart from the sociocultural factors, the presence of a distinct health threat that affects poverty-stricken populations particularly strongly must be mentioned Being uncontrollable and currently almost unmanageable, the pandemic has served as the inciting incident for the policy to be developed and has shaped the course that the UNDP framework has taken in addressing the concerns of the affected groups. Therefore, sociocultural and environmental factors remain the key forces that have shaped the UNDP policy.

Social Work Paradigm

Approaching the UNDP program from the perspective of social work values, one will have to admit its utility and significance. Created to address the needs of people living in impoverished areas, UNDP strives to restore community wellness, which is one of the foundational goals of social work (United Nations, 2021). Additionally, the policy is based on the values of social justice, dignity, and integrity, which constitute the basis of the social work value system (United Nations, 2021). Therefore, UNDP deserves to be supported despite its minor limitations.

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UNDP and Mental Health

Finally, one must emphasize the connection between the policy in question and the management of mental health issues. Due to the distress caused by the pandemic and the associated rise in poverty rates within the U.S., as well as across the globe, mental health rates are expected to drop in the households affected by poverty (United Nations, 2021). In turn, providing the specified households with sufficient financial and social support, UNDP will contribute to remedying the effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health.

Conclusion

By applying a multicultural approach based on addressing each case as a unique scenario with the following detailed analysis of the customer’s needs and the key factors defining them, one can provide the necessary support to the target audience as a social worker. The application of the cross-cultural framework has proven to be an absolute necessity based on the personal experience due to the importance of building trust and prioritizing customers’ well-being as the key goal of the intervention. By recognizing the challenges that customers have experienced and showing an understanding of the emotional, psychological, and physical impact that these challenges have produced, a social worker can provide clients with the necessary support needed to start healing.

References

A socio-economic impact assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname. (2017). Web.

Aparicio, E. M., Gioia, D., & Pecukonis, E. V. (2018). “I can get through this and I will get through this”: The unfolding journey of teenage motherhood in and beyond foster care. Qualitative Social Work, 17(1), 96-114. Web.

Popple, P., & Leighninger, L. (2018). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers (6th ed.). Pearson Education, Limited.

United Nations. (2021). Social assistance spending contained pandemic poverty, but gap widened between rich and poor countries – new UNDP report. Web.

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