Amy’s Life in Brief

A dangerous job…
January 7, 2010, 8:34 pm
Filed under: job, MSW, social work, social work practice | Tags: , , ,

In my day to day dealings with patients, I don’t consider my job dangerous. Maybe it’s because, generally speaking, I’m surrounded by people as I work with clients. Nurses and physical therapists are coming in and out. Other patients’ family members are milling around. Help is always seemingly close at hand. That’s not to say that I’m not cautious. I choose my position in the room so that my exit isn’t blocked. I generally don’t sit within an arm’s reach of a patient.

We’ve had a couple of situations recently that have reminded me of how dangerous the practice of social work can be and that danger can reach out to me in my outside life. This has been very difficult for my husband. While my father-in-law isn’t an MSW, he worked for several years as an Adult Protective Services worker for the state. When he was assaulted in the parking lot outside of his workplace by the son of a woman who he had to remove from her home (I won’t go into details but it was a pretty horrific situation), that was when he decided to leave social services and become a contractor and cabinet builder.

Here are a few more examples of violence perpetrated upon social workers…in West Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. You can also go here if you would like a more personal image of violence against social workers. I’m sure there are other cases…these were the ones I found in a quick Google search.

It’s a bit sobering to think of working in a job where you may come across a person who could end up killing you or severely injuring you. It doesn’t change my commitment to the work I do, but it does make me think about the type of jobs I would take in the field now and in the future. How does the threat of violence affect your practice of social work? Or does it affect it at all?