Why Social Care?

I have a strong belief in the transformative power of the actions of Social Care Workers. Working with the most marginalised people in our society demands and leads to the development of many skills. Skills such as patience, empathy and compassion for others as well as de-escalation skills, leadership and decision making under pressure, coupled with the professional knowledge that a degree offers, makes Social Care Workers highly skilled additions to our care system. Due to the very nature of the role, Social Care Workers working in the life-space of the individual are often best placed to advocate for the needs and wishes of the individual. This is a valuable contribution when decisions are being made in a multi-disciplinary team situation.

Personally, I have always felt a strong affiliation to social care even from before I knew what it was. Assisting my grandmother as a child and volunteering on a youth leadership programme as a teenager made me realise that helping others can bring great satisfaction. I have witnessed first hand the fantastic things that can be achieved by Social Care Workers and know how many in the profession go over and above the call of duty to ensure the needs and wishes of those they work with are met. Such as; a Social Care Worker who stayed with a sick resident in hospital long after her shift finished, another who brought a resident home for Christmas so that he would have some semblance of a family Christmas. Another used to bring pets to work as the residents loved animals. I’ve also known Social Care Workers to scour the streets of Dublin in the middle of the night searching for teenagers who did not return when they were supposed to and who risked everything to stand up for what is right.

I believe that Social Care Workers are on an equal footing with other health care professionals such as nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, dietitians etc. Social Care Workers often undersell themselves, undersell their role and their profession, often internalise that they are further down the pecking order of some care system hierarchy. A feeling that has manifested from being underemployed, underpaid and having their proper professional title disregarded by many organisations. Don’t they too engage in education for their profession, both inside the lecture theatre and workplace? Don’t they too have standards and codes of conduct to uphold? Social Care Workers deserve an equal voice and an equal place at the table with other healthcare professionals.

With the pending professional registration for Social Care Workers, there is now an opportunity to claim ownership of the profession, to grasp the professional recognition deserved and to feel proud to be part of the profession. It is also an opportunity to address inconsistencies in the field such as different titles for the same role, unqualified workers, pay disparity and underemployment so that Social Care Workers can do what they love and love what they do.