Social care staff on the joys of the profession
Sharon Hollins is social worker at Portsmouth Council’s Victory Unit, supporting older people before they return home from hospital or prepare to leave residential care.
The unit is an eight bed social services residential home. Clients can stay there for six weeks under intermediate care, with the aim of promoting their independence before returning home.
I work in a multi-disciplinary team and the atmosphere is positive. Everyone gets on very well with each other, offering support in the highs and lows of our jobs, and also in our personal lives. I think we are a professional team and take our jobs very seriously, but we also have fun while carrying out our daily tasks.
It’s the clients we’re here for and together with the occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehab assistants, we try to improve their functional ability, mood and most importantly, their confidence. We organise a number of different activities and groups throughout the week to stimulate and motivate clients.
I get very inspired when working with people who’ve been told they will never go home again, after being in hospital or residential care. Through their hard work and determination they do return home with a fairly good quality of life.
We recently made a DVD of the unit and the clients enjoyed being filmed. It certainly lifted spirits and has created a buzz around the place. We’ve been using the DVD to do presentations, increase referrals and raise the profile of the unit.
My job does give me satisfaction and most of the time I enjoy it as I find it rewarding, challenging and constantly changing, although sometimes this can be difficult to handle.
Sometimes I find it difficult to sleep because I may be concerned about a person I’m working with. I normally deal with this by talking to colleagues the next day at work and bouncing ideas off them. Recently I have been worried about the new computer system introduced for clients’ files. I am not very confident with computers and haven’t been able to grasp this as quickly as others. I’m a people person and there is so much that needs to be put into the computer now, that it is very frustrating. However, I am not giving up and with extra training and support I’m sure I will master it.
I have a pleasant working environment, a bit squashed at times when we’re all in the office, but the views over the Solent are amazing. When the sun is shining this really brightens my day.
My job is unpredictable, challenging and rewarding. I certainly would encourage others to become social workers.