Licensed Clinical Social Worker
( Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / September 26, 2013 )
How long have you been a clinical social worker at Roland Park Place?
What does your job entail?
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at a continuing care retirement community, my job is to help older adults and their family members maintain well-being, work through transitions, and achieve their maximum physical, social, and psychological potential. My role as a social worker is to advocate for the needs and wants of residents, as well as what is in their best interest, and to partner with residents and their family members to assure that each person is given the opportunity to participate in planning their own lifestyle.
As the director of resident services, I also oversee an awesome staff that is dedicated to providing opportunities for residents to have a full and meaningful life. This includes social work services, Roland Park Place's programs and activities, fitness & aquatics, chaplaincy and transportation.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
I have a bachelor of arts in social work from Western Maryland College, now known as McDaniel College, and a master's in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. I also pursue and complete ongoing education in the field of geriatrics and social work through continued education units required by the state to maintain my LCSW-C licensure.
What inspired you to this career?
I've been around long-term care all my life. Several of my family members were ministers and teachers. My mother was a social worker. My grandparents were administrators of a nursing home in Williamsport, Md. My grandfather was hired as the superintendent there in 1950. My father then took over the nonprofit facility from my grandfather and stepped in as the executive director in the 1970s. I worked there summers and actually lived there at one point in time when our home was being built. I always knew I wanted to work with older adults in a long-term care community like Roland Park Place, and I've been here for over 20 years.
What do you like best about your job?
What charges me up is when older adults that I work with feel that they've been heard, their wishes respected or that they're not alone in working to find solutions to some of the challenges they face. Sometimes aging adults are left out of key decisions about their own life or lifestyle and my job is to make sure they have a voice and their needs are heard by Roland Park Place, their friends and family members, our staff and anyone else involved. When you work in a retirement community you become part of the residents' lives and that trust is not only a privilege, but an honor.
The other best part of my job is just learning lessons from residents about life in general. I learn something new from them every day including what it means to age gracefully and successfully. Not many people can say they have a role model for aging, and I have many.
What are the challenges?
Besides not having enough hours in a day? In a retirement community the challenge is to keep the balance between the rights of the individual resident and the good of the community. There is a challenge in building a community that excludes no one, especially when there are so many varying degrees of age, physical and cognitive abilities, and levels of care and rehabilitation. At Roland Park Place we are proactive when it comes to developing high-quality programs, activities, and other services for every resident to be included at every turn.
As of May 2012, the median salary for health care social workers was $49,830 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.