Social Work.... the best keep secret

I love being a social worker. You won’t find a more diverse field of study than social work, I promise you. I know when people hear the word Social Worker they think we are “baby snatchers”, or we all work in the fostercare system giving out food stamps to poor people all day that is the furthest thing from the truth. In every aspect of the world you can find a social worker such as, courthouses, hospitals, schools, congress, police departments, fortune 500 companies, therapist, quality assurance, program management, nonprofits, grant writers, forensics, and I could go on.  I have had the opportunity to work in the foster care system, do adoptions, conduct family team meetings (FIM), and work as a forensic social worker within the past 5 years. I think social work is the best keep secret but it takes a special type of person to this work.


I never told you how my thesis turned out.  I got that degree done and my license to practice. 

This is what the study I did showed (I just grabbed the abstract):

Mortality and morbidity rates are higher among people with severe mental illnesses than the general population.  While many studies have examined this phenomenon from the perspective of the provider, few researchers have worked with consumers to gain their perspective on this issue.  As pointed out by researchers who have examined this from the perspective of the providers, there are clear structural (e.g. access to care) disparities in care for consumer diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nonetheless, research demonstrates other barriers to essential care such as consumer perceptions of health care and its providers. There is a need for additional research to examine perceptions of quality of care from the viewpoint of the consumer. 

This study used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine how twenty-five consumers at a local community mental health center diagnosed with both schizophrenia and a chronic physical illness (heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV, or obesity) perceive the physical medical care they receive from their primary care physicians.  The study was designed to gain more information about what these consumers define as high-quality medical care, and to determine in which areas they may perceive barriers to care. 

The study was both quantitative and qualitative.  The quantitative portion was composed of questions regarding five dimensions of care: communication, empathy, the doctor’s perception of schizophrenia, the doctor’s medical knowledge, and the patient’s perception of their own health.  The quantitative results were analyzed in SPSS using nonparametric tests due to the small sample size.  The qualitative portion asked the respondents to describe good and bad experiences they had with their primary care physicians.  The qualitative results were obtained using Grounded Theory.

During data analysis, an overarching theme emerged: respondents connect high quality health care with good communication, empathy, accessibility, and provision of basic medical treatment.  The quantitative results did not demonstrate a correlation between demographic information and any dimension of quality of care, but the dimensions of quality of care were correlated.   There was a significant correlation between a diagnosis of diabetes and higher ratings in the Communication and Empathy dimensions.  The qualitative results showed that consumers with SMIs and a comorbid diagnosis of diabetes as well as those with HIV should be studied further: if researchers can better identify the specific activities this group associates with high quality care perhaps this can act as a blueprint for better care for people with SMIs and other comorbid chronic illnesses. 

The author also identified issues that occurred for all diagnostic groups.  Respondents reported communication and trust issues with their doctors.  Additionally, respondents stated they had problems accessing care, which then exacerbated their psychiatric symptoms.  Respondents with hepatitis C regularly perceived disparities in the care that they received, especially regarding lack of treatment.  The results indicate a need for further research to investigate ways to improve communication between consumers and providers and better accessibility to primary care physicians for this population, as these were the most commonly mentioned problems with care in the qualitative interviews.


TL/DR: the people i asked want their doctors to possess empathy and be able to communicate.


I went out to Georgia Brown’s last night. It failed to impress me. How you make a meal that is just north of edible and serve it to people for over $20 is beyond me. How you ruin BBQ chicken, mac and cheese, and coleslaw is even further beyond me. BUT! The conversation was great and stimulating. It’s not very often that I can have these conversations with my core group of friends, which saddens me. My associates and I spoke on the education system in DC and how it is failing the students. Sorry, but it is. I’ve interned at two high schools so I’m well-versed on all of this. It was soothing to my soul to speak to like minded people about this subject matter.