|Social Policy and Social Work|
|Registered social worker|
|Social care and social work|
More about Karen
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A day in the life of a Registered social worker in Canada
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I have been practicing social work with older adults and their families in long-term care. I have also been doing research and policy analysis for universities.
What do you do?
I am a registered social worker in Vancouver, BC, practicing mainly with older adults and their families in diverse settings such as community senior service centre and long term care.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I was trained in social policy both for my BA and MA at York. I have been conducting research and policy analysis after graduation at Chinese University of Hong Kong on topics related to older adults and healthcare such as palliative care, long-term care and family caregiving. I then moved to Canada. Since I would like to gain experience on frontline, I did my BSW at UBC, Vancouver and have been practicing since graduation.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Yes, but it is still a related field. I would like to do research and policy analysis after graduation from my social policy degrees at York so I did research and policy analysis for about three years. However, I gradually felt that I wanted to gain some front-line experience to better understand what is happening in the real world so I have switched to social work. Although I am now mainly practicing in the front line, I am still doing research and policy analysis.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Regardless research and policy analysis work or front line social work, I enjoy learning from the experience of other people.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
One thing is handling ethical dilemma. I was the ethics lead in my previous long-term care facility and truly learned so much in the process handling these dilemma. I would say my early training on social policy really helped me to be a critical yet relational thinker and this is crucial when I am handling ethical dilemma.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
Long-term care is a healthcare setting, yet it is also the home of residents. I work closely with my interdisciplinary team and always gain insights by listening to diverse perspectives.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I was involved in a social policy student led community research project, giving recommendations to a local youth service agency on enhancing their volunteering system. This experience developed my interest on research and policy analysis which was the field I got into after graduation. I was also involved in another community project going to high school to connect students with volunteer placements and to help to review what they learned from their volunteering and how their learning could be helpful to their future plans. I learned a lot of case management and interviewing skills. This experience developed my interest in social work which I am currently doing now.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I believe I will continue what I am doing, that is, social work, research and policy analysis.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
York is a university with a lot of opportunities to help students to explore their interests and develop their strengths. Getting involved in these opportunities would help you to better understand yourself.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Please feel free to connect with me if there is anything I can help.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
All the best to all students, graduates and alumni, as well as faculty and staff at York!
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