Crucial Advice for New Social Workers

This past year has been challenging in many unique and unprecedented ways. From social justice movements to the sprawling pandemic, economic stress to an uncertain future, everyone, no matter their background or industry, has come face to face with trials. One area of the American fabric that has felt the effects of this year’s challenges have been social workers. Social workers help many different people with many different needs. Whether it’s people with disabilities or assisting children to find stability, social workers do their best every day to promote a genuine spirit of support. It’s always difficult for professionals just starting in the industry, no matter what’s going on in the world around them.

Fortunately, there are many ways that social workers can set themselves up for success in their role. With hands-on training and expert advice, new social workers can cut down on the potential for risk to occur and increase their chances of offering genuine support to those they work with. 

Take It One Client at a Time

New social workers are eager to lend a helping hand to those around them. They envision their clients being happy and gracious for the help they receive and forever being thankful. However, not all clients and not all scenarios are that open and that gracious. Some clients may come in to meet new social workers and not want to be there. Or a client may not show up for the appointment at all. The fact is that new social workers can’t help all clients the same way all the time. Social workers can help clients who want to receive help, so social workers should not take it personally. 

Liabilities Abound

Social work is a career that demands a devotion to supporting people in need. But helping others can put workers at risk of litigation by someone dissatisfied with an outcome. In this case, professionals in the industry—especially newer workers—need specialized social services insurance.

This coverage protects social workers if they find themselves in the middle of a malpractice lawsuit. Social workers need protection from frivolous claims and legal action due to negligent behavior or errors and omissions that can present themselves at any moment on the job.

These lawsuits may even come about years later and unexpectedly. Without social services insurance, workers can spend lots of time and resources defending themselves, regardless of whether or not they are innocent. This coverage provides workers in the social service field with comprehensive legal defense and coverage for damages.

Using Empathy to Help Clients

New social workers who succeed in the field have a significant thing in common: empathy. Great social workers can put themselves in a client’s situation, helping them provide the right kind and level of support. Imagining what a homeless client lives through, day in and day out, helps social workers realize what they need besides food and shelter. It could be socializing; it could be more access to hygiene products; it could be access to job networks. Social workers need to have an open mind and an open eye on their clients’ needs to help them better.

 Understand That Emotions Are Part of the Job

The same empathy that benefits clients often may be a drain on social workers, especially newer employees. Many first-time caseworkers feel they can turn off their emotions the same way they would a light switch.

However, it’s not possible to leave every part of the job behind. Individual cases and traumas will stick with caseworkers, no matter how long they’ve been in their position. From feeling worn-out to emotionally involved, social workers are not immune or safe from the emotional toll the industry presents. Especially where child clients come into view, it’s essential for caseworkers to permit themselves to tap into their emotions.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.