Saturday, November 30, 2013

In case you haven't heard

I passed my LMSW exam earlier today! And it was NO JOKE!!!!

I thought it was super hard and at MANY points, found myself just guessing on answers.

I think this was probably a combination of not focusing on some (or really what felt like A LOT) of the material in my studying, to how the questions themselves were worded.

I must've guessed correctly frequently enough because I surpassed the score required to not fail the exam!

I saw some other people on their way out who weren't so lucky :(.

There were a variety of exams going on in my center though. Before the test started, I was chatting with a nurse who was there for her second time hoping to pass.

Feelings-wise, I was super anxious and didn't sleep barely a wink last night and my stomach too was a mess. It was hard to even focus at times on the 170 questions that kept coming at me. I was so restless in my seat and just wanted to stretch and walk around.......

At one point, I even needed to get up to take a break because I've been struggling with a cold, which probably along with my nerves, lead to a massive coughing fit that I'm sure was disrupting some of the people around me.

It was probably a good thing in retrospect, but my timer also did not appear to be working either at my computer station, so I kept plugging along and ended up finishing in a little over 2 hours (you have 4 hours to take the exam).

If you are considering taking the exam in the near future, my advice would be to study your ass off for it. And then study some more. And then keep not let ANYONE make you think it's just some cake thing you need to do to be able to call yourself a social worker. It has now officially been my experience that you cannot go in blind (or just focus on your work knowledge) and think you will pass. Please believe this when people tell you. I'm not telling you this to scare you. If anything, I am telling you so that you can be prepared. And it also IS overall a scary exam that you SHOULD take seriously.

You really must have a great foundation of everything to pass this test. I also learned that in addition to having a strong knowledge base of all things social work (and somewhat beyond), you need to know the nonsense.

ESPECIALLY all of that boring stuff that we probably rarely, if ever, use in real life practice. Or if we do, we aren't thinking about what it's actually called ;).

Have you recently taken your licensing exam and passed? What did you think of it?

P.S. To the first person who is thinking of asking about it, I have NO plans to take the LCSW anytime soon. IF EVER. 10 years post-Master's was a huge accomplishment in itself for me LOL.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Student back on?

I got an email from the newer student yesterday and it looks like they are standing firm with the school and want to come onboard with me.

I sent them a bunch of readings and hopefully they will sit through orientation this week.

We shall see.

Whatever will be, will be.

I'm going to talk about the situation today in my SIFI class.

Then it's back to studying studying studying.

My friend LMSW is right around the corner..........yikes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Up early today

The automatic alarm in my head went off a little before 5 this morning (the regular time I get up during the week). I decided to go with it. Today, I am headed into my part-time office to write a service plan. It can be a real pain in the ass doing this kind of work on my "day off", however, right now, the money is too good to give up for what really amounts to just a few hours of work. If I'm really focused, I can write a full plan in about 5 hours.
Plus, it's usually for a good cause. This person I am writing to obtain services for, is on the verge of homelessness AND she has a child to help support.

I don't know how long I will continue to do this P/T work, but for now, it's a decent gig.

Fortunately, I don't "need" the money at the moment, but I am stashing it away in savings, because I know with DH's business, this is not always the case. And as we all know, it's frequently hard to live in most places on just a social work salary alone ;).

Do you do anything part-time in addition to your normal F/T position?

What kind of work is it?

I feel like for most social workers, it's become normal to work multiple places.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2nd student update?

So I don't think I will be getting the 2nd student.

The school gave us both a very hard time because I could not wave my magic social work wand and have them start immediately.

I work for a large healthcare system and the onboarding process on average takes 3 weeks to 1 month.

From what I was told, they are now being forced to go to another placement that will take them sight unseen.

I feel bad, but there's also A LOT going on at work right now for me, new clients starting, my LMSW test is coming up and the program will be getting some other students from different (non-social work) disciplines so it's not all that terrible.

If I were in this student's shoes, I would be super pissed off with the school and look into trying to get some or all of my money back.

The thing that sucks though, is that even if the student decided to drop out and go elsewhere, they may need to take their first semester courses over since from what I have seen, a lot of schools don't credit you for them.

Obviously it's a money thang ;).

This has definitely been a learning experience though.

For those of you who field instruct, have you seen similar problems?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another one?

My school reached out to me yesterday that they are desperately trying to find a placement for another student. This person has been waiting all semester to start at a certain place and it's been one roadblock after another with that agency's particular "system". I don't understand how it takes so long, but have heard stories from fellow SIFI classmates of the same thing......several of them are only now having their interns start.

The Director of Field Placement told me that my current student actually recommended me and my agency (happy dance!!!), and that when my student talks about us, a lot of the other people in the class feel like it sounds like a really cool place (it is!!!). This new person heard about us this way and advocated coming on board.

In any event, I told the school I needed to speak with my supervisor first, and of course interview the student to ensure it would be a good fit. I also explained that it could be a month at best for the potential student to actually start so they will have A LOT of hours to make up.

In addition, I decided to meet with my current student as well to hear their thoughts again about how they feel things are going and if they would be open to having another student come in. They actually know this person obviously and stated they feel it would be a good match.

My concerns I guess are of course, more work for me and I also want to ensure that there is going to be enough for them to do. We are a very small program and primarily do group work all day long.

I was given some background info already about the potential student and they do sound very different from my current one, so it could also be quite positive on that note (again, sorry for the vagueness). There are still several issues I am having with my current student so having another person in their shoes there, I am hoping could help with these concerns.

What are your thoughts of taking another student on, those of you who have experience with field instruction?

Or even those of you who are students? I welcome your feedback too :).

My first placement I was with 3 other interns and just having their support/presence made a huge difference for me. I could see it being very isolating otherwise............

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

LMSW test prep

What part of the test prep did you dread studying? For me, it's all the different theories. I'm thinking it's probably because I don't do straight clinical/therapy work. I also honestly don't have a lot of interest in social work theory and therefore, they do not stick in my brain for very long. (And let's face often do we really hear people, professional or otherwise talking about this subject?!).

It is what it is though and it's still an important part of the exam. Any tips and tricks you social workers have taken to remember them all? The different stages and terminology especially seems so boring and becomes easily lost to me............

I should have some free time when I get to work this morning, I think I'm going to just suck it up and read through that material again..........maybe write them out old school style..........Ugh, I just want this test to be over with a passing grade not held back by these theories.