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Reflecting on the importance of social work during Social Work Week

March 12, 2018

By Chantal Simms, MSW, RSW, Family Practice

This article is being shared in celebration of Social Work Week, which was held from March 5-11. Women’s College Hospital recognizes and thanks its social workers for their hard work and dedication to improving patient outcomes.

What is Social Work?

Social workers help people deal with the day-to-day problems that reduce the ability to cope and function at an optimal level in personal and family relationships, at work, at school and in the community. Social workers focus on the social and emotional as well as economic factors that contribute to overall health and social well-being. Social workers anticipate, address and facilitate practical solutions for costly and important social issues that affect people’s day-to-day lives.

In Ontario, the social work profession is regulated under provincial legislation.  Social workers can have university degrees in social work, for example BSE (bachelor’s degree in social work), MSW (master’s degree in social work), or PhD/DSW (doctorate in social work).

What services do social workers provide?

Social workers provide the following services: provide intakes/assessments; psychotherapy; links to resources in the community; case management; group facilitation; supervision of social work students from local universities and work as part of interdisciplinary teams.

Social workers have always played a critical role in the provision of services at Women’s College Hospital and can be found in 15 programs across the hospital including in the Women’s Mental Health program, Bay Centre for Birth Control, Chronic Pain Program and Family Practice Health Centre, to name a few.

Why do social workers enjoy working at WCH?

“Being a social worker in the chronic care disease department of the hospital incorporates the holistic aspects of social work such as looking at how a chronic disease such as diabetes can emotionally affect the person who lives with diabetes and the individuals who support him/her. Also, how the person’s personality and the psychosocial aspects of the person can affect his/her diabetes management.

The best part of my role is to work with young adults as they transfer from Hospital for Sick Kids diabetes units to Women’s College Hospital; to help them adjust to the transition program and then to the adult programs.

Finally, I enjoy teaching residents how to build an understanding, accepting, and non-judgmental relationship with individuals living with diabetes. A positive relationship can encourage the individuals to attend to their medical appointments and improve their diabetes management.”
    —  Cheryl Harris-Taylor MSW, RSW – Chronic Care Disease

“I have the opportunity to co-create an open, positive space with clients and my colleagues that promotes health, connection and emotional wellness.

On a daily basis, I learn that when individuals are supported in expressing their thoughts, feelings and worries, they begin to witness their own process of transformation and together we can take note of some of the magical moments along the way.”        
     —  Lesley Hughes MSW, RSW – Trauma Therapy Program

For more information about social work at WCH contact Lina Jobanputra, professional advisor for social work, at ext. 6371. To learn more about the role and impact of social workers in Ontario, view this infographic from the Ontario Association of Social Workers


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