At the sharp end

Penultimate post from our World Social Work Day blog series comes from Gillian Maher. Gillian is a member of our Service Users and Carers Network here at Sussex. Below she explains how her experiences contribute to social work education at Sussex.

I believe that service users and carers have a very important contribution to make, in relating academic rigour to the personal qualities which a good social worker must demonstrate.

Very often, the difference between good and poor practice is quite subtle. Perhaps the old adage, “It is not what you do, but the way that you do it” sums it up most simply; but of course it is not that simple.

Social Workers have to develop forensic skills in gathering, assessing and disseminating important information. They need to combine this with intuition, sensitivity, creativity and empathy, if they are to work effectively with their “client” group.

I hope that by sharing my experiences of life at “the sharp end” of the social spectrum, both as a carer and social activist, I can help to empower students to engage positively with the very difficult issues they will face in their professional lives.


March 20, 2014. World Social Work Day.

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