Day in the life of a Social Worker

By Lucy Summers | Posted: Friday April 28, 2017

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a social worker? Read about why Jackie went in to social work and what her typical day is like.

How long have you been a social worker for Anglican Family Care?

I started working for Anglican Family Care on the 11th April, 1994.

How did you get in to social work?

I was very lucky to be fostered by a family from Owaka when I was 15, and have remained close to my foster mother ever since. She became a social worker and I admired her so I wanted to follow suite. I was very lucky that my brush with the social welfare system was good for me and introduced opportunities I would never have had. It made a difference and I wanted to do the same.

Anglican Family Care has made a huge difference to my life and given me strength and opportunities I would never have had if I have done anything else.

What do you like best about your job?

The variety and differences in every day with all of the people we are fortunate to be involved with. Each and every one of them has something to offer and be proud of; some just might not know exactly what it is, but if you look, generally they do.

What are the challenges?

Lack of resources in our area that we can refer clients to, especially when they don’t quite fit the box for a particular agency or service, and knowing that a small amount of input would them help immensely.

Please describe your typical day

The majority of my time is spend on face-to-face work with clients and then writing up my case notes and adding client feedback into our software programs. This can include lots of travel! Some of my clients live an hour away so I try to visit all the people in the same area on the same day but this can’t always happen!

I also spend a lot of time researching or liaising with referrers or services that may be able to help such as the Police, Plunket, Oranga Tamariki (formely Child, Youth and Family), the Salvation Army, WINZ, or mental health services. It depends on the issues the client may have or need assistance with.

We have team meetings and I meet regularly with my supervisor (she has the patience of a saint!).

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

Life is somewhat simpler now… I have stepped down after 15 years of ambulance work with St John but am still heavily involved with St John Youth as Divisional Manager.

I have two grown children and a 6-month-old granddaughter. I also have four step children and three step grandchildren who live in Balclutha so I am lucky to see them a lot.

I am the President of the local motorbike club – Big River Bikers – but we haven’t been out much this season unfortunately (too busy tripping to Christchurch to see my new granddaughter).

And I love doing nails and makeup and other crafty things.

Jackie is a social worker in our South Otago Home-based Support Service team.