Filed under: social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: blogging dry spell
I’m fine…in fact I’m brimming over with blog topics. The problem? Why am I not typing my little heart out? Same problem as per usual…how to talk about some of my experiences without breaching patient confidentiality, among other things…like pissing off family members, friends or co-workers should they stumble upon my blog and see themselves in what I’ve written. Not to worry…here’s a few tidbits from my life in recent weeks…
1. I had my first opportunity to be a witness in a court of law as a social worker. I doubt it will be my last, but I can hope, right?
2. Quote from a conference last week…”The transition to death with always remain difficult due to the widely and deeply held desire not to be dead.”
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: 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: boundaries, HIPAA, hospital, hospital social work, job, MSW, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: acquaintance, disclosure
Generally, my general practice is, when I realize I know a patient or their close family members, to not get involved in their case. I think this is generally accepted as the correct thing to do, ethically. It’s probably als wise, in order to avoid comitting a HIPAA violation.
An issue arose for me, sort of anyway, this past weekend. One of my colleagues requested I follow up on a patient. It wasn’t anything urgent, just providing some ongoing emotional support for the patient and their family. I was aware they were from a certain geographical area that I am very familar with. But, when I saw the family from a distance and recognized them. They may or may not have recognized me, had I approached them. It’s been a number of years and my name is different these days.
Nevertheless, I did not approach them. I was somewhat uncomfortable, since I had some prior knowledge of them from a different setting. Nothing negative, just some prior knowledge. Plus, I was incredibly busy so I wasn’t really able to attend to people who already had had an initial assessment. But, I wonder if, had the family been in crisis, it would have been appropriate to intercede.
Certainly, if it would have been a family I knew well, I wouldn’t. At least I wouldn’t as a professional or employee of the hospital. But, only knowing them slightly, is it ever OK to get involved? And if they don’t recognize them, do I inform them that I know them and how, in the interest of full disclosure?
Filed under: balance, burn out, hospital, hospital social work, job, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: overworked, stress
I find some of the most stressful stretches at work are long weekends. We always staff down for the holidays, which usually means someone works on their own. This weekend was no exception.
I have been essentially on my own since Friday. I think I mentioned how Saturday fell apart on me. I was unable to recover from that. I never caught up and got further buried today.
But, two of my colleagues will return tomorrow. I am hopeful we’ll be able to catch up. I’ll still have a busy day tomorrow. There are a number of cases I won’t be able to pass off. Once you make that emotional connection with a patient and/or family you have to follow things through. But, it will be nice not to feel as if the weight of the entire hospital on my shoulders.
Filed under: hospital, hospital social work, job, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: busy, Saturday, weekend
It is so interesting to work on the weekends. I’m not sure if people have higher expectations, or if I’m more overwhelmed because I’m on my own, or what it is. I had the typical request to cure someone’s problem with chronic homelessness, as per the usual. I had the usual request to come talk to a crying patient. But, I had some interesting experiences today.
I was asked to come talk to a person about their drug seeking behavior a full 5 minutes before they were being discharged. I’m not exaggerating…literally 5 minutes before they were ready to walk out the door. Now, I can do some good work in a short period of time. That being said, I really don’t think I can do any kind of a drug and alcohol assessment, good or bad, in less than 20 or 30 minutes. So, frankly, I didn’t even go there. I got them referrals for primary care and suggested they see the social worker that is available there.
My morning also got hijacked. We had several hospice discharges and it turned out we used the same transport company for all of them. I am telling my colleagues we should never do that again. About 20 minutes before the first pick up was to take place we got a call they would be delayed. Then, 30 minutes later we got a call that they didn’t think they couldn’t take them at all. Any of them. So, I scrambled to find alternative transportation companies that could respond quickly on a holiday weekend. It was good times.
I’m not even sure how many referrals I didn’t get to. I am trying not to think about that.