To what extent do experiences of using services or caring for someone influence the perspectives and practice of social work students at Queen’s University Belfast?. Damien Kavanagh School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Queen’s University Belfast N. Ireland. About me.
To what extent do experiences of using services or caring for someone influence the perspectives and practice of social work students at Queen’s University Belfast?
School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work
Queen’s University Belfast
Unionism / Loyalism
Nationalism / Republicanism
Challenges in defining categories (McLaughlin, 2009).
Service user: someone who has used or uses services in Health and Social Care.
Caregiver: someone who has or has had an on-going emotional or practical interest in the wellbeing of a service user.
Evidence-informed practice and objectivity in context of humanity and subjectivity (Wiles, 2011)
Disability as a medical, personal tragedy (Oliver and Sapey, 2006)
Fear of disclosure and unfitness to practise (Wray et al, 2005)
Table1: Frequency of survey participants by gender
Table 2: Frequency table of cohort by disability, as disclosed.
Table 3: Frequency table of cohort’s views regarding service users.
Table 4 : Breakdown of service use beyond primary care.
“Now that I’m a social worker I don’t want to give too much away.... I view my illness and how it shaped my life differently.... I remember the first day .... thinking, ‘What are people going to think about someone on crutches? I need to get off crutches before I go on placement’. ... I was always conscious that it was about me feeling different from other people, and that all came from being sick.”
“I made the realisation that I’m a carer and not just a family member. I could see people around me answering differently.... my life experiences are different from everyone else’s.... It’s more than being a sister; I don’t know any of my friends who would be mothering their 16 year old brother.”
“I think it’s important to think through past experiences and be aware of the potential impact on people. I’m no different from anyone else.... Our lives are basically the same as the people we are going to be offering support to. We’ve just been a bit luckier with the circumstances, and I think that’s the only difference.”
“It’s all about the words that you use. People are in contact with social services for a reason, but it’s always ‘service user vulnerable’, not ‘service user strong’. It’s about the pathology of service user status and experiences, people need to practice thinking about people in a different light, as experts on themselves.”
“I have grown as a person... I am a professional and I bring my life experiences. I will not deny these; they’ll not be put in a box. .... I now know the other side of the relationship.... I always check how I think about things; it’s about personal and professional safety.”
Reinforcing good practice.
“My family and my Gateway experience was a more positive experience and I would be more willing to share this. I wouldn’t be though if it had been a bad experience.”
Social justice and advocacy.
“Yes, when I have to stand up for them when someone makes a remark....I felt hurt and insulted, but now that I’m on the social work course I’m trying to handle situations better.... I don’t want him (brother) to be an object or subject to be talked about.”
Access to accommodations, institutional and personal.
“I did, mostly for support materials and to increase my accessibility. The previous University didn’t ask and I didn’t tell them. I had friends from school with me who supported me.”
Ownership and protection of experiences
“I said a couple of sentences but didn’t say too much detail about it. I think that if you bring your life experience and once you put it out there someone else owns your personal information.”
A final word on Northern Ireland .....
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