March is National Social Work Month! Why is this holiday relevant to us? Because we have two licensed Social Workers on our team. Precious Dinkens and Rhonda Allen, two of our Patient Health Advocates, started their careers in Social Work. They utilize their skills in their roles with JaxCareConnect, as well as in positions within our local hospital systems.
In honor of this month, we asked Precious and Rhonda a few questions about Social Work. Their answers are listed below:
- What motivated you to start a career in Social Work?
- Precious: I wanted to connect underserved populations to resources available in the community. I wanted to be an advocate for those too afraid to speak or ask for assistance due to the stigma surrounding receiving any type of government assistance.
- Rhonda: I got into Social Work, kind of on accident. I went to college for nursing; but during one of my Anatomy labs, we had to dissect a cat and I. JUST. COULD. NOT. DO. IT! So, I went and spoke to my advisor, and she asked what I wanted to do in life; my response was simply “to help people.” She asked if I had ever thought about Social Work, and I ignorantly replied that “I don’t want to take people’s children away.” She laughed and showed me a poster entitled “What is a Social Worker”. It depicted a large tree and each leaf had different roles of Social Workers. Once I realized that I could still work in the hospital as a Social Worker, well, the rest is history!
- What is your favorite aspect of working in this field?
- Precious: The enjoyment that I get when someone, who is in need, is connected to community resources that fulfills that need and improves their quality of life.
- Rhonda: My absolute favorite thing about being a Social Worker, or more specifically, a hospital Social Worker, is the sense of fulfillment. Almost weekly, I have patients tell me that I saved their lives; I’ve gotten hugs from patients who were so thankful to just have an advocate in their corner to help fight for them and/or navigate the health system. I get so much joy from helping others.
- What is one thing you wish more people knew about Social Work?
- Precious: Social Work is a very broad profession. It has evolved from the old school thought of it being child welfare focused and now serves people across many industries.
- Rhonda: Like me, I wish more people knew how vast the field of Social Work is; that there are more ways to be active in the role of Social Work, outside of being a DCF worker. I wish people knew that there is, indeed, money to be made in this career field, as often times, people shy away from Social Work because of that stigma. I wish people knew that licensed Social Workers can have private practices and work for themselves. Social Work is a field with lots of opportunities and it continues to grow!
Thank you to ALL Social Workers, especially our very own Precious and Rhonda, for the work you’re doing to improve the lives of others. The world is a better place because of you.