Let me be quite clear about this. A day in the life of a social worker is no picnic. That is only the case if she is one of the few that actually show up for work on time and comes armed with her heart on her sleeve and her soul soaring. Starting times for her, if she is that serious and caring about her job, is usually before dark. This is no different for the nurses and doctors at public administration hospitals with rows of patients already waiting for them, quietly and sometimes howling with pain.
No matter where her location is, this social worker’s case file is full. In fact, it is more than she can handle right now. Apart from resources being stretched as always, more and more people with major crises are being referred to her for help in any way she can give it. Because of her caring nature and gift for her vocation, she would be more than happy to be of service. It’s just that she is so swamped right now and frustratingly cannot deliver a premium service to each and every mother, child or family that walks through the door and into the cramped confines of her small office, overcrowded with months-old case files.
But she does her best, as always. Because the queues are that long, she can only schedule appointments for each case on a near-monthly basis instead of at least weekly. Given the long and taxing hours at the clinic and never mind just how dangerous some of the neighbourhoods under her jurisdiction are, she is often not able to make good house calls to see how well her patients are doing. I thought about the shortage of social workers in general a moment ago and wondered why more young ladies are not keen to pursue this noble profession.
To be quite honest with you, even if the noble thought had occurred to them originally, I can’t really blame them. And, ironically, it is a good thing for both them and the patients had they gone that far. Most of the time there is a serious concern over low, low salaries. If I showed you my latest payslip, you would either cry on my behalf or scold me for being half crazy. Why I say it is a good thing that these ladies shy away from a challenging vocation is because with their hearts not really into it, they would be doing the work a great disservice.
On the flip side of the coin, think why there are so many men and women who are already devoted to worthy causes, even when they are not going to be paid one dollar for their services. Granted, many of them do take home monthly checks, but the reward of giving back to the community, particularly where it is needed the most, is even greater. Those who could never afford proper eye care can now sit back and relax, watching TV or reading the newspaper with their new eyeglasses provided to them by men and women who care.
I’m proud to say that I still care too. And yet not a day goes by when I can’t stop thinking that I could have done something more. The work of the social worker, if it is a dedicated service, is never ending and does not keep to restricted hours. Those in the public service sector who keep to their short hours cannot rightly call themselves social workers. Not yet five, they already left their desks and turned patients away. I’m also happy to say that while this poor scenario continues, in many other areas the opposite is happening.
Caseloads are growing smaller, not just because of the tireless dedication shown by the social worker, but because more men and women, professional, lay or even unemployed, are coming forward to help. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone or a family being rescued, no matter what the earth-shattering circumstances were. Those who are dedicated and loyal never lose hope and keep on trying to do your best.