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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Field Practice Orientation: IOP Rehab

It felt like an interview.

I had to fill out a 25-page application. I went up to the receptionist's window at one point and asked if they had given me the wrong paperwork. She assured me they hadn't.

They wanted a 10-year employment history. Luckily I've been with the same company for 10 years or I might still be there.

The lobby of the Intensive Out-patient rehab center was buzzing with constant activity. The front door opened and closed every few minutes and I had no idea who anyone was or what they were doing.

A very loud conversation rattled my brain as I tried to concentrate on the forms I was filling out.

Name, date of birth, height, weight (sheesh!), social security number (yikes! I was recently a victim of identity theft), address, current employment, etc.

I repeated this info on several different forms. The words were flying off the pages: confidentiality statements, background check information, criminal records...

By the time I was led back to an office for orientation, my head was spinning with over-stimulation. Once I was settled into a private office with a congenial man to discuss the employee handbook, I started to relax and I was able to comprehend what he was saying. We talked easily and joked a little bit with one another.

I met the two directors of the program before orientation was finished and soon I was being led out of the building to my car.

I will learn to take deep belly breaths!

My mantra: "This is a general field experience. I am an observer. I do not have to know everything in one day. I am not in control. This is temporary."

The dream is becoming a reality. I look forward to the journey.

--Ms. T. J.

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