Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

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.

Friday, December 21, 2012



I want to take this time to wish you a very happy holiday season! Social workers' work is so important, and I truly appreciate everything you do. I commend all the social workers who have been working tirelessly to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and, most recently, the Sandy Hook School shootings...in addition to all the work each social worker does each and every day.

If you are a December social work graduate, congratulations and welcome to this wonderful profession!

Download the Fall issue

Have you read our fall issue yet? It has gotten a LOT of great feedback! Highlights include thwarting disclosure in court, burnout and self-care (must-reading for every social worker), homeless education, workplace safety for social workers, getting in to social work grad school, benefits of undergrad research, digital disaster resources, book reviews, and more!


Why not subscribe to our quarterly magazine, monthly e-news, and other occasional announcements, too?

Moving Forward

I am very excited about 2013! It will be our 20th year of publication! We have lots of great things in store, so stay tuned! The Winter issue will be out before you know it, in early January! Please be sure to tell your friends, students, and colleagues about THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown Shootings: Questions and Resources

The school shooting in Newtown, CT, is a tragedy that has shaken our nation. I have heard many people debating what to do, how to respond, what are the possible causes, and so forth. This tragedy has opened up new discussions about gun control, mental health services access, causes of violence, and more. Parents are wondering what to say to their children. Social workers are wondering how to respond to their clients.

There are several resources I want to bring to your attention. First, Gift From Within provides resources on PTSD for survivors and caregivers. Some especially relevant resources on GFW's web site include:

Kathleen Nader, D.S.W.
 Helping Traumatized Children at School
Erwin Randolph Parson, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
 Inner City Children of Trauma: Urban Violence Traumatic StressResponse Syndrome (U-VTS) and Therapists' Responses
Dr. Kathi Nader and Dr. Robert Pynoos School Disaster: Planning and Initial Interventions
Frank M. Ochberg, M.D.
 Bound By A Trauma Called Columbine

Survivor Guilt

Kathleen Nader, D.S.W.

 Guilt Following Traumatic Events


Many are offering help in one way or another. Here are some examples.

Here's what one group of social work students from the University of Maryland did to help the Newtown survivors:
Social Work Students Send Sympathy Cards to Newtown

Give an Hour is coordinating to offer mental health services to those affected by the shooting:
Give an Hour to Offer Services for Conn. Tragedy

The American Red Cross is also providing support to the Newtown community:
American Red Cross Helps Support Community 


Music can be a great healer.

The Voice "Hallelujah"

Vance Gilbert "26 Reasons"

There are many other articles, as well as discussions going on on various social media sites and social work sites...too many to mention.
What do you think are the next steps for social workers in the aftermath of this tragedy? How has it affected your social work practice? What resources/ideas have you found helpful for you and your clients?



Friday, October 12, 2012

GUEST POST: How To Bring Conversations to a Screeching Halt

by Kristin Johnson

I learned many years ago when I made a woman cry (at a party no less) that sometimes even the mere mention of what I do for a living can shut down just about any conversation.  I was at a friend’s baby shower, and we were all recent college grads.  The hostess asked me if I was working, and I told her I was a child protection social worker.  She dissolved into tears as she described a story she had just read in the paper about a baby being abused by a parent. It was a terrible story, but she immediately associated me with that story and spent the rest of the shower tearfully telling me that she didn’t know how I could possibly do my job.
I’m never sure how to take that comment, and I get it all the time.  Sometimes it’s spoken with a bit of awe:   “I don’t know how you do your job!”   Other times, it comes across with a bit of a tone:  “I could never do your job.”   I understand that it’s usually meant as some type of compliment, but I also wonder if the unspoken question is, ”What kind of person chooses to be around such misery every day?”
There are other professions that involve varying degrees of sadness, stress, overwork, and worry, but they are usually viewed with more admiration.    Oncologists, fire fighters, police officers, NICU nurses…usually these people are admired and honored, and they are often portrayed in the media as noble, self-sacrificing warriors.
Social work is rarely portrayed in the media, but when it is, it is almost universally negative.  Usually, the social worker is the cold and unfeeling.  Oftentimes the “real hero” of the story tries to protect the child in question from “the system” out of fear that the child will get lost or abused even worse if that nasty social worker gets her hands on him.
It is even more negative when there is a high profile child abuse case in the news.  These cases are often the only time that child protection gets any media attention, and the story is usually about whether the system did enough.  At worst, the stories attack and blame the local child protection agency for failing to protect the child.  And because of data privacy laws, the local agency can say nothing more than, “no comment,” which in this day and age is often taken as an admission of guilt.
So back to the question: “How do you do your job?”  I can only speak for myself, but I have learned to accept the reality that sometimes Bad Things happen to kids.   It’s a truth that feels wrong to accept.  For one, adults are supposed to be the protectors of children, and if we accept that child abuse happens, then doesn’t it mean that the adults have failed?   Second, most people who hurt their children don’t look the part.  There are a thousand reasons why a parent abuses a child, but it is rare that a parent hurts his child with no guilt, shame, or remorse.  The vast majority of parents who hurt their children also love those same children dearly.  It is a paradox that is hard to grasp in a black and white world.    
The grimace that I get from people who ask about my job comes from not wanting to think about or hear about child abuse.  And I get that completely.  There are days that I don’t want to think about it either.  In our office, we talk about how nice it would be not to know what we know.  I’m guessing it’s that feeling that leads to the burnout that is common in the profession.
But to be honest, there’s not a lot of turnover at my agency, and that’s because we also laugh a lot—not at our clients’ expense, but we do laugh about almost everything else that comes with our jobs—awkwardly observing urine drug testing, getting chased by mangy dogs, playing cards with hilarious grade schoolers.  So sometimes all we can do is laugh.  And many times, my clients and I laugh together.
So my usual answer to the question that brings a hush over the room is that I have learned to accept, to do the best I can, to be kind, and to laugh.

Kristin Johnson has worked for nearly 20 years at Goodhue County Social Services in Red Wing, MN.  She has recently published a novel based in the child protection system called “unprotected.”  Find more information at www.kristinleejohnson.com.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Is Here and So Is The Fall 2012 Issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER!

Happy October!  

I am pleased to tell you that the Fall 2012 issue of The New Social Worker magazine is now ready to download! It is available, free of charge, in PDF format, directly from The New Social Worker Web site.

To download the Fall 2012 issue, go to The New Social Worker's download page. Then click on "Download." If the file opens in your Web browser, just click on "Save a Copy" or "File>Save Page as" and save the file to a location on your computer's hard drive.

If you have difficulty with the above link, here is another download link:
Fall 2012 The New Social Worker--direct download link 

Articles from this issue are also available on our Web site (http://www.socialworker.com) in Web format.

Also, don't forget that THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER is now available in a full-color, high quality PRINT edition! If you love the feeling of holding your very own print copy of your magazine in your hands, you can purchase print copies of this issue and previous issues from:

Additionally, you can get a printed, bound volume of all 4 issues from 2011 and/or 2012! You can find these on my Amazon page at:
(The 2012 volume will be available within the next week...2011 is available now.)

Here are some highlights from this issue:

• Student Role Model: Christine Webb (in PDF and print version only)

• Ethics: Clinicians in Court: Thwarting Disclosure

• Field Placement: What I Wish I Had Known: Burnout and Self-Care in Our Social Work Profession

• Homeless Education: Providing Stable Education for Children and Youth in Transition

• Workplace Safety for Social Workers: A Student’s Analysis and Opinion

• Evidence of Time Machines

• Being Who We Are, Every Day, Everywhere (in PDF and print version only)

• Your Social Work Graduate School Application: 14 Tips To Help You Get an Acceptance Letter

• Research: 10 Benefits of Student Participation in Undergraduate Social Work Research

• International: ABCD in Practice: A Practical Lesson From the Field Placement (in PDF and print version only)

• Tech Topics: Red Cross Digital Disaster Volunteers Offer Support Through Social Media/Sidebar: Disaster Distress Helpline

• On Campus (in PDF and print version only)

• Reviews

...and much more!

PLUS…watch our slide show of social work students in action—advocacy style!
As you know, this year is a presidential election year, and I have heard of many social workers and students (like the ones on our Fall 2012 front cover from La Salle University) who have become involved in such activities as voter registration, advocacy regarding voter ID laws, campaigning for candidates, and the like. As social workers, we have ethical responsibilities to clients, colleagues, practice settings, and the broader society. I encourage you to review the NASW Code of Ethics, and then think about which candidates’ positions are in line with our ethical responsibilities to society. Be an advocate by being involved! Don’t forget to cast your vote this November. 

Also, we have posted some “Web-only” articles providing information, insight, and opinion on various policy issues for you to consider as you consider the various candidates on the local, state, and national ballots this November. You can read these articles here:

Perspective on Social Welfare Policy and Retirement Income Security

Why Social Workers Need To Care About Breastfeeding

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/newsocialworker 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/newsocialworker
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3041069
Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/101612885418842828982

If you are looking for a professional social work job, or looking to hire a social worker, be sure to visit our online job site, SocialWorkJobBank.com (http://www.socialworkjobbank.com) today. Employers, please contact me at lindagrobman@socialworker.com with any questions about posting jobs on the site.

Please let your colleagues, classmates, and/or students know about THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER, and the fact that it is a FREE social work resource. Feel free to pass along the download links above, and let them know that they can subscribe free to receive notifications of future issues. If you have received this message as a forwarded message from a friend or colleague, you can subscribe at http://www.socialworker.com/home/menu/Subscribe/

Friday, September 14, 2012

Congrats to NASW "Restoring Hope" Essay Contest Winners

The winners of the National Association of Social Workers' "Restoring Hope" essay contest have been announced. There are two winners, one social work student and one social work professional.

The student essay by Megan Salisbury, a senior at Arizona State University, focuses on homelessness. She wrote:
For social workers, there are no instant answers. Restoring hope is an act of blind faith and perfectly timed phone calls, and yes, even instant answers from a collaborative partner. It is about finding the means when you are unsure of the way.
Read her essay on the NASW web site.

The social work professional winner is Lauren Anzaldo, MSW, LCSW, CAP. Lauren's essay is entitled, "Conveying Hope to Every Client." In it, she said:
A social worker embodies the words “You are a life worth saving” every time she meets with a client and sits with him in his discomfort. We convey hope when we treat our clients like people, when we let them know that how they feel and what they want out of life is important.
Read Lauren's essay on the NASW site.

You can also now access photos and videos from the NASW Restoring Hope conference on the conference web site.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jane Addams

Today, September 6, is Jane Addams' birthday. Addams, born in 1860, was a pioneer in the social work field and was a Nobel Peace Prize winner. She is known as a pioneer in the settlement house movement and the founder of Hull House.

THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine published an article about settlement houses in 1998. You can read it here:
Settlement Houses: Old Idea in New Form Builds Community

In 2012, Hull House closed after providing social services in the Chicago area for 122 years. We published the following article about the closing:
Lessons from Hull House

And, in the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, we published this 2009 article on Addams" influence on a social worker:
Following in Jane Addams' Footsteps

I remember reading about Jane Addams when I was a little girl, and I was very inspired by her.  When did you first hear about Jane Addams, what stood out about her, and how did her work influence the work you do today?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Learning from Social Work Interns

In THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine, we publish an article on field placement in each quarterly issue. The current issue features an article entitled, "What I Learned From My First Intern," by Tina Landeen Panos, LCSW. Tina offers four lessons that she learned:

  • question authority
  • keep learning
  • appreciate your knowledge
  • perspective

You can read the full article by clicking here.

What lessons (expected or unexpected) have you learned from being a field instructor or supervising others (social workers or students)?

If you are a field instructor, student, practitioner, or educator who would like to write about field placement issues, please contact Linda Grobman, editor of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER, with your idea(s).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are You Satisfied With Your Social Work Salary and Your Social Work Job?

According to this article released yesterday, social work is among the most underpaid jobs in the U.S. At the same time, social workers report high job satisfaction. To quote the article, "Despite the high stress, social workers report to Glassdoor that they like working with people, and get a thrill out of positively impacting the lives of others. Their tender hearts don't translate to loads of legal tender, though."

The amount of student loan debt (see http://www.socialworker.com/home/Feature_Articles/General/Loan_Forgiveness_Eases_Debt_Burden_for_New_Social_Workers/) combined with salaries that are lower than those of other professionals makes for some difficult decisions when it comes to accepting a social work job offer. How does one reconcile the desire to do good in his/her chosen profession with the need to make a livable wage?

What has your experience been? Have you found that you have had to turn down a dream job because of the salary?  Have you found effective ways to get the salary that you feel you deserve and need?  Have you found salaries to be acceptable in your area of practice and geographic region?

Friday, August 17, 2012

College, civil rights, the past, and the present

Earlier this week, my alma mater, the University of Georgia, commemorated the 50th anniversary of its first African American graduate. Mary Frances Early received her master's degree in music education from UGA on August 16, 1962. The commemoration took place in the Fine Arts Building, a place I knew well during my undergraduate years.

Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes were the first black students at UGA in 1961. However, Early transferred to Georgia from the University of Michigan and was the first of these pioneering students to graduate. She eventually became the first African American president of the Georgia Music Educators Association, and later was the head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University.

Later, around 1968, the first African American professor arrived on the UGA campus. That professor was Dr. Richard M. Graham, a pioneer in the field of music therapy, who became my professor and a major influence in my life in the same school of music from which Mary Frances Early had graduated.

In addition, Dr. Maurice Daniels, dean of the UGA School of Social Work, spoke at the commemoration, addressing the historical significance of Early's graduation on the civil rights movement. Dr. Daniels arrived at the University of Georgia during the time that I was a graduate student there.

When I read about the commemoration, I felt proud that both my undergraduate and graduate schools were involved in this historical event. By the time I arrived at UGA, there was a lot of diversity within my school and on campus overall. How could it be that it had been within my own lifetime that African American students were even admitted as students there?

It sometimes seems that the beginning of the civil rights movement was a long time ago, but 50 years really isn't that long at all.  When I look around in everyday life, I think we have come a long way, and still have a long way to go in the area of race relations and civil rights. I see way too little diversity and way too much misunderstanding in our society.

I must say that within the social work profession, I see a great deal of diversity, and I see great efforts to move us toward a society in which there is respect for cultural and social diversity, and in which discrimination and exploitation are eliminated. These are part of our professional, ethical mandate to promote social justice and create a society in which basic human needs are met for all people.

What are we doing to go to that next level of true diversity, understanding, and social justice in everyday life?  What more can we do?  When will it be EVERYONE's ethical mandate as a human being?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Social Work Graduate School Site: Version 2.0

 I am happy to announce the redesign and relaunch of The Social Work Graduate School Site! This site is brought to you by the publisher of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER and focuses on issues related to applying to, getting in, and making the most of social work graduate school programs. I will be posting articles, excerpts from THE SOCIAL WORK GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICANT'S HANDBOOK, and other items of interest to those who are seeking a master's degree in social work (and beyond).

Please check out the site, and be sure to "follow" and/or subscribe, so you will not miss anything!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Power of the Face-to-Face Conference

I just returned last week from attending, exhibiting, and presenting at the national NASW Restoring Hope conference in Washington, DC.  I network with professional social work colleagues every day online, but this does not take the place of the power of being in rooms full of like-minded people, where in-depth conversations take place, ideas are shared, and new collaborations are begun.

Standing (left to right): Susan Mankita, Kryss Shane, Linda Grobman. Seated: Karen Zgoda
A highlight of the conference was the opportunity to see friends and colleagues face-to-face.  I met up with Susan Mankita, Kryss Shane, and Karen Zgoda, all of whom have been involved with THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER over the years. Being in the presence of these three outstanding women, each of whom is brilliant and funny and a wealth of ideas, would have made it worth it to attend the conference, just in itself. With each of them, I had meaningful conversations that could result in future collaborations.

But there were many more highlights.  Here are a few:

1.  Keynote addresses:  These are informative and inspirational speeches that are usually given at the beginning and end of a conference, to tie the theme of the conference together for all attendees.  These were held in a ballroom large enough to hold all 1,000 conference attendees.  The theme of the conference, "Restoring Hope," ran through the various keynotes throughout the 3 1/2 days of the meeting.  After a Monday morning introductory speech by NASW Executive Director Elizabeth Clark, the attendees heard Bob and Lee Woodruff speak.
Bob and Lee Woodruff
Bob is a journalist who was injured in an explosion while providing news coverage in Iraq. Bob and his wife Lee spoke candidly about his traumatic brain injury and his recovery from this injury. They have a very nice back-and-forth style of presenting, and they provided a very human face to the issue of TBI.

2.  Sharing with other professionals:  I submitted an abstract, which was accepted, to do an individual presentation entitled, "That Was Awesome! Hope Through Live Music at the Bedside During Illness and End of Life."
Roberta Gastineau, Christina Risley-Curtis, Linda Grobman
Through this presentation, I had the opportunity to share with social workers my passion for using live music at the bedside to provide a therapeutic, healing, peaceful environment in hospital, nursing home, and hospice settings. I became certified as a Certified Music Practitioner several years ago, and I wanted to let social workers know about this practice and how they can use this with their own clients by referring them to certified practitioners and/or become certified themselves.

The format of the presentation was a panel with two other presenters.  The conference planners did an excellent job of matching three presentations that were different, yet complemented each other.  Roberta Gastineau did a humorous reading on social work and ethics, and Christina Risley-Curtis presented on the importance of animals in social work, including assessing clients' relationships with animals, as well as using animals in therapy. It was a pleasure to meet and present with these two innovative social workers.

3.  Entertainment:  On the conference agenda for Tuesday night was a special performance by the Capitol Steps, a wonderfully zany musical comedy troupe that "puts the mock in Democracy."
Capitol Steps
Laughing is great for self-care, which as we know, is crucial for social workers!  The political satire of Capitol Steps was just what the doctor ordered for this group of social workers.

4.  Exhibiting and more networking:  When I go to a social work conference, I am often there as an exhibitor, as was the case at this one.

Linda Grobman and Carmela Isabella, who wrote a chapter in MORE DAYS IN THE LIVES OF SOCIAL WORKERS about her incredible experience as a BSW intern in Hillary Clinton's office.
From my perspective, this is a great opportunity for me to let social workers know about THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER, the books we publish, and our other resources.  From conference attendees' perspective, where else can you go and find all things social work in one big room AND have the opportunity to meet the people who have created these resources, ask questions, and maybe take a few goodies home?  Think of the exhibit hall as the "center" of the conference--a place to meet up with people, get information, network, and make connections.

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg.  Much of the "good stuff" that happens at conferences occurs outside of the educational sessions, during informal conversations, in the exhibit hall, at receptions, or even at a political comedy performance.  Not to mention that you can learn a great deal from the variety of excellent workshops, presentations, and symposia--and be energized and inspired by the keynotes and just being in a place with so many like-minded folks with whom you can share ideas and make connections.

What are your best conference experiences?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome to Summer!

Hello!  We have been away from our blog for a while, so I would like to take this time to welcome you to summer! I realize that our readers are in various parts of the world, and it may not be summer where you are. Still, this is the time of year that our SUMMER issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine is published!

I am happy to announce that you can download the Summer issue NOW, free of charge, at:

In addition, it is available in print:

Summer 2012, Vol. 19, No. 3
32 pages, published 7/3/2012
The Summer 2012 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine. This issue includes articles on: FAQs about the Code of Ethics, learning from my first intern, social work in an HIV/AIDS clinic, a foster child removal experience, @SWSCmedia Twitter debates, poetry, book reviews, and more!

By the way, did you notice? Our blog has a new look!  Are you a social worker or social work student who would like to contribute to our blog?  Let me know!


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