Filed under: epidemic, hospital, hospital social work, MSW, social work, social work ethics, social work practice, Uncategorized | Tags: crank, ice, meth, methamphetamines
So, I saw a patient today that could only be described as “a little meth-y.” For the uninitiated, I’m talking about a person who likely has used methamphetamines in the last couple of weeks or maybe had been using very heavily within the last year.
The person didn’t have any of the behavioral characteristics of meth use, but just had that look that I’ve come to know. The person may only be in their early 30’s but can look closer to 50, their skin has an appearance that can only be described as “rough.”
Anyway, anyone who has much exposure to people who abuse methamphetamines knows what I’m talking about. My struggle today was how to document clearly what I am talking about. It is easy to just say, “The patient had the appearance of somewhat who uses methamphetamines.” But, is that enough? Would anyone know what I’m talking about??
Thoughts from any one of my 6 readers??
Filed under: burn out, hospital, hospital social work, job, MSW, social work, social work practice, Uncategorized | Tags: burn out, overwhelming job
Sometimes there is a cumulative effect with all the shit I see on a daily basis in my job. Most days, I feel like I am able to, not necessarily brush it all off at the end of the day, feel like things went OK. But, every once in awhile, I hit the wall.
It’s been like that the past couple of weeks, I’ve hit the wall. I’m sick to death of people dying because they don’t have health insurance. I’m sick of having the same alcoholics come in again and again with a GI bleed, telling the doctors that, “Oh yes, I want to do whatever it takes to get better” and then telling me to get the f**k out. I’m sick of seeing people being essentially struck by lightening. Going on about your business and then getting hit by a drunk driver and being horribly injured is about the same as being struck by lightening.
The Husband has a hard time understanding why I go back every day. Frankly, I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t doing this job I do now. In some ways, it’s a job that is perfectly suited to my personality. And like I said, most days and weeks, I really feel like I’m absolutely where I’m supposed to be and serving my purpose in life.
But, I’ve hit the wall and need to find some ways to have some down time. At this point, I’m wondering if my purpose in life really is to get cussed out by alcoholics. Or if I’m really doing anything more than putting a metaphorical band-aid on a severed artery when I go in to talk with a family who has just experienced an enormous tragedy.
Sometimes it is all just too much!
Filed under: hospital, hospital social work, job, MSW, social work, social work practice, Uncategorized | Tags: insurance companies, perspective, rehab
So, as I may have mentioned before, I am a social worker in a medical setting. My role in my current work place isn’t in the typical model you’ll find for a medical social worker. I will often say, “Thank God I don’t have to order oxygen and find beds for little old ladies in nursing homes. I did not spend all that money and time in graduate school to do that!”
But, today, I got to thinking about these self-righteous statements of mine. This is after I spent a good deal of time assessing a chronic alcoholic. And then, I spent the majority of my day rounding up a treatment bed for him…and getting authorizations from his insurance company…and ordering oxygen for him. No, just kidding…he didn’t need oxygen…
But, my point is that maybe my job isn’t always so far removed from that of a social worker who does discharge planning…how different is it to get authorization for the little old lady with a broken hip to go to a skilled nursing facility than it is to get them to authorize a stay at inpatient alcohol rehab? It’s pretty time intensive and they didn’t give us training in graduate school of how to talk some insurance company peon into having some compassion (I bet you can guess where I stand on health care reform). So, maybe my job isn’t all that far removed from a discharge planner, at least sometimes.
Filed under: hospital, hospital social work, MSW, psych eval, social work, social work practice | Tags: diagnostics, weirdness
I just had a very weird case at work. I’m not going to go into ANY details, but I will say it was weird. It also involved a mental health diagnosis that I was told in graduate school that I would likely never see in my career. Actually, I’ve seen this diagnosis twice now.
Anyway…I’m wondering what is the weirdest mental health diagnosis you’ve ever seen given? What’s the most rare diagnosis? I’d be interested to hear from you!
Filed under: MSW, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: aromatherapy, New Age, Shamans, yoga
So, I went to a social work conference yesterday. Those of you who have gone to conferences, social work or otherwise, realize that it’s a bit of a grab bag as far as speakers. You get some good ones, some mediocre ones, some great ones and then some others. The frustrating thing, also, is that the titles and class descriptions often to match the actual class content.
So, I signed up for a class that I thought would be about vicarious traumatization…you know, how to recognize it and what to do about it when you experience. I guess it was sort of about those things but the world view of the speaker was decidedly new age.
There were pieces that were definitely helpful. She talked about yoga and breathing techniques as well as some good visualization techniques. The aromatherapy piece was helpful. All of those things I felt would be helpful to me and useful interventions for clients. I guess it’s probably not likely I could use aromatherapy in the hospital setting, but for myself I could see it being somewhat useful.
But, then she started talking about crystals and stones. And I really don’t want to offend any of my 6 readers who make place some sort of value on crystals and stones. I really don’t, but I may end up. I am trying to keep an open mind about this….really I am.
She talked about smoky quartz as a stone that could absorb negative energy, as well as rose quartz. There were others she mentioned as well…hematite was one, I think. But, she lost me when a person asked the question about clearing these crystals of their negative energy and she said, “Well, magnetite is a good stone for clearing negative energy but I recommend using it only under the guidance of a shaman.”
That’s when the opening doors in my mind started to swing shut. My first thought was, “Did she really say get the guidance of a shaman?” My second thought was, “Where in the hell would I find a shaman?”
I see the value of crystals and stones, in the sense that holding something that is smooth and pleasant and cool can be relaxing. It could distract someone from the pain and discomfort they are feeling. But, I just can’t make that mental leap that the stone itself could draw negative energy from a client or a patient.
Anyway…I hope I haven’t offended any of you New Age folks…I just don’t get it…
Filed under: boundaries, HIPAA, hospital social work, job, MSW, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: MYOB
If you’re an off-duty “social worker”** and you overhear a conversation that an on-duty social worker is having with a family or a patient in the hospital, don’t make too many assumptions.
Don’t assume that because you didn’t hear me mention a particular resource or option today that it hasn’t already been offered to the patient or family.
For that matter, don’t assume that this is the first time I’m meeting with a family or patient.
Don’t assume that your experience with a particular state agency or other organization is the standard for every person who tries to access those services. Believe it or not, there is a wide range of experiences people have with different agencies, from stellar to abysmal!
Don’t assume that, because you think I didn’t offer the right combination of services to a patient or family, I don’t know my shit. The thing is I don’t know every thing, but neither do you.
And certainly don’t assume that I’m going to consult with you on the case! Hello! I don’t want to lose my job for a HIPPA violation!
** I put “social worker” in quotes because in the state where I live you cannot legally call yourself a social worker unless you have formal training in a social work program. Not everyone who calls themselves a social worker has a right to use that title…at least in this state.
Filed under: health insurance, hospital social work, MSW | Tags: Stupak Ammendment
Hi there! I’ve mentioned this issue before, but maybe you didn’t get a chance to read it. Congressman Stupak, I just wanted to let you know that by adding to the many factors that are holding up health care reform, you are killing people. I know you think you’re going to save lives and all by limiting access to abortion, but really? You do know that you are adding to the death and misery faced by the uninsured, don’t you? Hmmm…maybe not.
A Social Worker on the Front Lines