50 rewarding things about being a social worker

Community Care and UNISON's research on a typical day in the life of a social worker discovered the moments of joy and inspiration that help people carry on

In partnership with unison logo 100

On 21 September 2016, Community Care and UNISON asked social workers how they were spending their day and to tell us the most rewarding and challenging aspects.

The survey highlighted a profession under pressure, and individual social workers struggling with their caseload.

However, social workers also reported feeling rewarded by the outcomes they had helped achieve and reported this was often enough to keep them going, no matter the stresses and strains they were put under.

Here are 50 rewarding things social workers said happened in their day.

  1. I was able to remove a child from a child protection plan today.
  2. Helping a young person who had no-one else to turn to, and seeing how pleased she was that she figured everything out.
  3. The three year old child I took for a child protection medical examination yesterday remembered my name when I visited this morning and was happy and relaxed with mum.
  4. I got a card from the daughter of service user thanking me for all my support and work.
  5. I was able to get an urgent psychiatry appointment for a client of mine that we believe is very unwell.
  6. I got a lady to smile at me and say I could come back and see her despite her shouting at me on and off throughout the one hour visit.
  7. A young service user, who is known to not get along with new people, was welcoming to me on a shadow visit because I have blue hair and she liked that.
  8. All the weeks of negotiating, paperwork and enduring verbal abuse from family and hospital managers paid off today – everything went to plan and we were able to get a patient discharged from hospital.
  9. dementia, elderly, nursing home

    Photo: WestEnd61/Rex/Shutterstock

  10. I spent some time with a woman who is 102 years old, her long-term memory is excellent and we spent over an hour chatting about her childhood. She is able to recall a historic event that she witnessed first-hand very clearly.
  11. Being thanked for sorting out some financial worries (straightforward to me but not to them) and seeing them look as though a weight had been lifted.
  12. Was able to close the case of a one-year-old child who had been failing to thrive. Had been in hospital and child protection then child-in-need and is now being fed properly.
  13. Manager was very supportive and asked me to consider a permanent job.
  14. The children thanking me for being able to see their dad.
  15. Getting professionals to acknowledge that there was no risk of harm in a case which has been child protection for two years and which the school had wanted to continue. Big hug from the mum.
  16. Helping someone get the support they need. They were severely self-neglecting and having possible recent trauma from injuries.
  17. Taking a service user to visit a new home that he can hopefully move into soon.
  18. I delivered a food parcel to an adult I am currently working with as she had no money or food. Was able to organise money for her gas and electric.
  19. A child who often does not find it easy to engage with professionals ran out of his classroom and gave me a hug when he saw me at the door waiting for him. We had a good direct work session where he was able to tell me about his worries and we made a plan together about what everyone could do to help make things better. He asked if next time I visit we could just play…the answer was yes!
  20. Praise from a co-worker about how much my work is valued.
  21. I did some real social work – not just report writing and fulfilling statutory tasks. Although this was out of work hours.
  22. Getting through my case recordings so I did not have to finish them at home.
  23. child hugging adult

    Photo: PhotoAlto/RexShutterstock

  24. I got a cuddle from some kids because I am leaving the local authority.
  25. Identifying learning and development opportunities that will enable staff to practice in a more person-centred way and increase confidence and capability.
  26. One of my children thanking me for all I do.
  27. Taking a young person to buy carpet for her first home – a young lady I had not met before but my colleague who normally works with her is off sick. It was lovely to spend time with someone who has got her life together after difficulties in her family life. She now has positive relationship with family, her own flat, a good job in a school and a positive outlook.
  28. When one of my workers came in and told me a child they were working with came up and hugged them at school. It was [a] child protection case.
  29. Knowing I had the evidence I needed to finally issue care proceedings.
  30. Observing a newly qualified social worker’s development.
  31. A kid told me he loved me.
  32. Positive feedback in supervision.
  33. A mother thanked me for moving her children from an abusive foster carer swiftly and she reports a marked difference in her children’s emotional well-being.
  34. A client had a baby.
  35. I supported a staff member with her assessments.
  36. I organised my caseload and created planning lists.
  37. Getting a child, who had been in care and is now back home, into school.
  38. Hearing a mother advise she feels she has hope after today’s meeting.
  39. Being able to facilitate the discharge of an elderly woman from a residential home in to her own home.
  40. The daughter of a lady I am working with said that she was gutted to lose me as a social worker (we are currently restructuring and I am winding down my cases) and said that she had been telling her friend’s how her mum’s social worker was awesome!
  41. thank you note

    Photo: Fotolia

  42. Positive feedback about improved team performance.
  43. Being able to allocate the case of a child with emotional needs that needs immediate support due to increased risky behaviour.
  44. Playing UNO with two boys now settled with their father and a nine-year-old girl choosing the happy and relaxed and positive mood cards showing vast improvement.
  45. Ending a child protection plan because a family have made such positive changes as a result of the intervention offered to them. Finding a new way of working with them to help them change for them and not for professionals is the best part of today.
  46. A text which said thanks for helping.
  47. The patient was happy to know that there is a plan to help him move on from his current placement and into the community. He was excited about the future.
  48. This was the last supervised contact between the mother and young person as she is now 16. The foster carer thanked me for my support and bought me some chocolates which was very touching.
  49. I was able to praise a colleague for amazing work.
  50. Young person engaged with me in a reasonable fashion and we ended the visit by having a kick around.
  51. I was told by a client that they appreciate what I do for them.
  52. Playing the ukulele with a looked-after child.
  53. Cakes brought into the office!

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One Response to 50 rewarding things about being a social worker

  1. Maharg March 28, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    “Despite our best efforts, things sometimes work out okay !”