This March, Mission Health is celebrating Social Work Month along with the rest of the nation! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, where employment is expected to grow from 720,000 to 800,000 by 2030. The Social Work Profession for decades has been dedicated to improving human well-being and enhancing the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable among us, particularly during the global pandemic. Social workers continue to work on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, helping clients get the health care they need and helping individuals overcome grief and loss.
This year’s Social Work Month theme, “The Time is Right for Social Work” embodies how social workers rose to meet the most pressing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The time is right for social work now more than ever as our nation recovers from the pandemic and faces an increased need for mental health services. To recognize Social Work Month, Mission Health spotlights our very own Beth Gifford from Spring Hill Care & Rehab to share her story as a Social Worker.
Q: How long have you been a social worker, and how long have you been with Spring Hill?
A: I graduated with my Bachelor of Social work in 2010 from Missouri Western State University and went directly into my Master’s program and graduated with that in 2011 from University of Missouri- Kansas City.
Q: The theme for 2022’s Social Work Month is “The Time is Right for Social Work.” What does that mean to you?
A: To me, the theme means, now is the time to become a Social Worker. If you are an SSD and looking to broaden your career or gain more insight into the Social Work profession, now is the time. Many things are going on in our world today and Social Workers are there to help and assist people through many stages of life. I am currently working on my Clinical License to become a therapist, that I am able to do because I am an LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker). My goal is to provide therapy to older adults by listening to their stories and providing feedback for them. I feel like we work with one of the most valued pieces of history that often gets overlooked. I challenge you to find a resident and listen to their story.
Q: What is it about your job that keeps you coming back on the days that are more difficult than others?
A: It may sound cliché, but it’s the residents and their families. I started my social work career in the hospital setting, working as an ICU social worker. Taking this job, not knowing much about long term care/skilled nursing, it has been the relationships I have formed with my residents and their families, knowing that I make a difference in their lives every day.
Q: What would you tell someone considering becoming a social worker?
A: Stick with it; sometimes the job is emotionally draining. When you first get out of school you will learn so much and some of it will be overwhelming, but just stay the course. When you see the good outcomes, it makes the hard days completely worth it.
Q: What do you wish *other* people knew about social work?
A: My initial response is we are more than just people who “take kids out of homes.” We sit beside a resident at the end stages of life. We walk with families through an Alzheimer’s/Dementia diagnosis. We are the cheerleaders, the ones that when doubt is prevalent, we are in the corner cheering…knowing good outcomes do happen! Also, Social Work is very versatile, you can work with any age group or any type of population!
Each day, social workers empower millions of Americans so they can live life to their fullest potential. During Social Work Month we urge you to learn more about the amazing profession, thank the social workers in your local communities, and help support the profession not just during Social Work Month, but throughout the year entirely! Thank you, Beth for sharing your story, and thank you again to all Social Workers for continuing to touch millions of lives each and every day.
We will be sharing additional words of wisdom and inspiration from many of Mission’s other outstanding social workers this month, and we encourage you to follow along with their stories via the Mission Health Facebook @missionhealthcommunities to learn more!