‘On a bad day, I try to remember that problems we have now will one day be history’

Catherine Poulter, a locality manager for Carmarthenshire council and Hywel Dda Health Board, shares her thoughts on being an adults social work leader

3-minute guide to social work in Wales

Tristan Donovan
Wednesday 18 September

A social work leader needs resilience, a passion for helping people to overcome difficulties and the ability to communicate this to staff, service users and partners.

What inspires me most is the prospect that we can make a difference. On a bad day, I remember the huge psychiatric wards where older people slept in beds that were arranged in rows, which offered no individuality or privacy. We don’t do that today and it reassures me to think that some of the problems we are tackling now will be history at some point.

The Welsh Government is generally supportive of social care. However, closer working with GPs is hampered by the conditions of the contract (the General Medical Services contract is the UK-wide contract between general practices and primary care organisations for delivering primary care services to local communities), so an overhaul of that would be welcome.

Usually I sleep well, but sometimes when there are difficult situations, I stay awake and try to work through solutions.

I think my staff would say that I am professional and experienced, and that I am supportive and encourage people to develop their skills.

The toughest decisions are made when we’re dealing with situations where the only options are bad or worse, so there are no happy endings. Telling people that we can’t provide care for them to go home as their needs are too complex is probably one of the toughest.

One of the best decisions I made was to become a social worker. I am proud of the difference we make in people’s lives.

Would you like to work in Wales? Find out more by reading our social work careers guide.

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