Social Worker, Kirsty, smiling at the camera

Meet Kirsty, a social worker, working in Adult Social Care in the Hospital Discharge Team. Kirsty worked in a restaurant until she realised she wanted a job caring for others. Read more about her journey and why now, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Coronavirus has made our work more difficult.

Things have changed a lot in the last few months with the outbreak of coronavirus. The team I work in has been split, with some working from home and others on a rota working from the hospital. To reduce the risk to patients and staff we aren’t allowed to have any patient contact, which makes our job very difficult. Social work is based on face to face contact and listening to the voice of the individual, which is hard to achieve in the current pandemic.

Embedded media

To see this third party video, please allow statistics, marketing cookies to be set by selecting them in the cookie banner below or by adjusting your browser's cookie settings.

I wanted to help people and make a difference.

At college I did a Public Service BTEC and then went on to work in a restaurant. I really enjoyed interacting with people every day but realised that I wanted a job where I could help people.

When my nan wasn’t very well, I was involved with her care which gave me an insight into the work that social workers and care workers do, and it made me realise I wanted to pursue it as a career.

I did an Access course for Health and Social Care at Exeter College which helped build on my understanding of health and social care and what a career might involve. After that I went on to do a BA in Social Work at the University of Plymouth. This gave me the opportunity to learn about the theories and legislation and their impact on me and the people I would be supporting.

Before working in Devon, I worked in Cornwall in both Adult and Children’s Social Care. I soon realised that I had a better rapport with older people which is why I decided to get a job working with adults. I’ve moved a couple of times since being in Devon. My first job was in a community team where I often dealt with long-standing, complex cases and I now work in a Hospital Discharge Team which is very fast paced.

My role involves assessing adults who have complex care needs or have experienced a life changing event, such as a stroke, and evaluating what care and health support they would need to be discharged from hospital. This involves liaising with families and lots of different professionals on the ward, care homes and anyone else who has been significant to the individual. I then ensure that the identified needs are met appropriately upon discharge, this is often met by a residential or nursing home. To ensure I follow the correct legislation I would complete a care act assessment and if appropriate, a mental capacity assessment as well. All discharges from the hospital are short term and a review is therefore required to identify what their long term care needs are.

In the future I want to progress into the workforce development team as I’d like to be able to assist and support newly qualified social workers to progress and also pass on my experience.

It’s my calling and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I love being able to build good relationships with people, both other professionals and service users. Listening and understanding their lives to achieve the best outcomes for them is so rewarding.

Although seeing families in difficult situations can be sad and the job can sometimes be frustrating when you don’t get the outcomes you want, I enjoy the fast paced and challenging environment and love that I can make a difference to people’s lives.

Embedded media

To see this third party video, please allow statistics, marketing cookies to be set by selecting them in the cookie banner below or by adjusting your browser's cookie settings.

You’ll find a role that works for you.

I think the main qualities that you need to be a social worker are resilience, compassion and a desire to support positive change. If you have those qualities, I would encourage anyone to get involved in social care. There are so many different roles, you’re bound to find the right one for you.

If you’re interested in a career in health and social care, visit our careers page.