Class Year: May 2023
Degree Program: MSW
Hometown: Shaker Heights, OH
Field Education Organization: Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland, OH
Describe your field education practicum experience and any work/projects you have done.
Primary care social workers are often the first point of contact between veterans and their healthcare system. Rather than case management, it’s referred to as comprehensive care coordination. As an intern, I work on an interdisciplinary team to help veterans and their families access care and link them to the appropriate VA or community resources. I also represent social work at weekly Center of Outpatient Education didactic meetings with medical, nursing and psychology residents. I’m currently working on a Quality Improvement (QI) project to improve primary care HIV screening procedures.
What are you doing in field that you’re planning to bring with you into your career?
As a career transitioner from a marketing background, the clinical experience I’m gaining at the VA is invaluable to my social work career. Also, charting and writing good notes—this is a skill I’m grateful to learn and practice daily in my practicum and that I'll absolutely bring with me into my career.
What is something you have learned during your practicum that you have found to be the most helpful in your social work journey?
Always make time to process patient encounters in a safe space, ideally with a supervisor. I think this is especially important if you’re working in a very fast-paced environment.
Who is someone you met during your field education that will change the way you practice?
My field instructor, Celia Smith. I'm not sure how I got so lucky, but I love working with Celia and admire the way she does her job. In addition to her wit, wisdom and warm spirit, she does things the right way, not the easy way. She also happens to be an Mandel School alum!