Diary of a newly qualified social worker

Community Care is inviting newly qualified workers to share their experiences. Here Greg Foreman describes his work on a learning disability team

I always knew I wanted to work in a caring profession and had entertained ideas of being a teacher, nursery worker, nurse, paramedic and veterinary nurse and applied to study a nursing degree.

During my gap year I decided that nursing would be too ­clinical and medically oriented. A family member who is a nurse suggested I look into social work.

I researched the profession and it seemed like a much more appropriate career for me as it took a holistic approach to people’s lives.

I qualified from Canterbury Christ Church University last year and joined the adult learning disability team in Lambeth, London, in September.

My interest in this area comes from my father and aunt, who work in a school for children with learning disabilities, while my university placement in a mental health team gave me the chance to work with adults with dual diagnosis of learning disabilities and mental health needs.

So far I have been given a mixture of cases, including independent people who live in their own flat, more dependent adults, and people who have a dual diagnosis of learning disabilities and mental health needs: three of these adults are sectioned under the Mental Health Act and others are supported in the community.

One of my first cases involved John, who struggled to physically care for himself when he was discharged from hospital. He has spent the past year in supported living accommodation and has developed his independent skills.

He can now carry out all his personal care needs and domestic chores with supervision and I am hoping to move him to different accommodation soon.

I have been well supported within my team and have informal day-to-day supervision as well as more formal, structured supervision. I had not experienced the care manager role on placement and I am still learning the roles and boundaries between myself and other professionals.

I look forward to being a part of this framework and helping with its development.

Greg Foreman works at Lambeth Council, London, and is one of 1,000 graduates in England being supported by a national programme for NSQWs in adult services, run by Skills for Care.

Contact daniel.lombard@rbi.co.uk if you would like to write about your experiences as a NQSW.

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