By Dr BP Sahu
A social worker works towards the interests of the community and ensures that its most susceptible citizens receive protection and care. Can any job be more fulfilling than this one?
The Social Work profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships and empowerment and liberation of people. If you are willing to be a partner, negotiator, supporter, communicator, reframer, confronter and reflector and if you feel a great deal of compassion towards social issues, then this can be an excellent career option for you.
Social work is not just about doing good deeds and helping the under-privileged. Over a period of time, it has evolved into a profession. Correctly it is not a ‘conventional’ career. But with issues of disability, drug misuse, poverty, mental ill health, problems associated with ageing etc. rising constantly, social work has become vital.
Social work deals with the economical, social and emotional problems arising out of different aspects of today’s complex lifestyle. It focuses on spreading public awareness on the issues of concern. Social work diversifies into the streams like psychiatric social work, community organisation, clinical social work, school social work, medical social work, industrial social work, criminology and correctional social work, research work with social orientation.
Increasing instances of child and women abuse, drug consumption, HIV positive cases, mental depression, disability, poverty, old age problems have created the need of nonprofit, social services and NGO jobs.
What it takes
Interest in the psychological and emotional side of people’s behaviour, sensitivity, patience and persistence are a few of the characteristics that you must possess to be in this field. You need to have idealism to make a difference to the lives of individuals, the courage to make a positive decision to do a job that contributes to the society, the need to feel proud of your contribution and stimulating role and most importantly personal fulfillment. You need to treat everyone as equal and you cannot be biased or prejudiced towards a section of the society.
Clinical social work: Social workers who venture into this field can work in psychological and mental health care.
School social work: This job involves providing emotional help and problem-solving to prevent family and school breakdown. Counselling the children, home visits, family assessments, making referrals to locality teams etc are all a part of this job. Discussing and educating on issues like drug and alcohol abuse, sex-related problems and diseases are also the job of a school social worker.
Psychiatric social work: Psychiatric social workers work with disturbed children and teenagers with behavioral problems.
Criminology and correctional social work: Social work in remand homes and prisons to prevent crimes and anti-social behaviour is also carried out by social workers. They work as preventive officer, assistant jailor or probation officer.
Medical social work: Social workers who venture into this area help patients and their families in coping with stress and other personal and economic problems. Any hindrances that restrain recovery are dealt with by medical social workers. Also, they help health professionals in treating the patients by providing information concerning the social, emotional and economic status of the patients.
Community organisation: One has to work towards solutions to problems of specific communities. They deal with problems like lack of housing, unemployment, local services etc.
Research: Social workers carry out social research to determine solutions to problems like poverty and homelessness.
Industrial social work: Social workers help in ensuring labour welfare in industries and commercial units.
Social workers also help people with mental health problems, marriage issues, substance abuse and dealing with diseases like HIV/Aids.
Growing awareness concerning social problems like rural conditions, illiteracy, poor health services and substance abuse, jobs in social work have been increasing. Both government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have a lot to offer if you are willing to work hard and under any given condition. International organisations too are socially aware and hence a number of opportunities are available in international social work. One can earn a starting salary of Rs 10,000 per month in private sector.
You can undertake a two-year course (MSW-MA) at the post-graduate level after completing your graduation. The MSW course of North Eastern Hill University is specially designed to develop your analytical ability and understanding. If you really have the passion and look forward to an enriching and satisfying career in social work, you are welcome to apply for the MSW course.
(The author is Head of the
Department of Adult and