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Kyle Wilson Professor King April 26th, 2009 Interview with a Social Worker Names of social worker and

agency For my interview of a social worker, I chose to interview my uncle, Don Wilson, who is the Fire Chief and Director of Public Safety at Westlake Fire Department. Don Wilson holds a degree in fire science management and in social work. This chapter of the citys services is located under Public Safety on their website, which I see as a major role of a social worker. I really look up to my uncle, which is the main reason I chose to interview him, and I hoped to gain a lot of knowledge about his values and the everyday routines he goes through. My uncle serves for his community and the people that make up the community, hoping to preserve the safety and health of all of the residents. The purpose of his agency, the Westlake Fire Department, is to be on call to the citys residents whenever they need help. Whether it is a fire, a car wreck, a cat in a tree or maybe just a routine visit to the local retirement home, Mr. Wilson and his unit are consistently serving the community to ensure the safety of all residents. The role of social work in this agency requires great personal values, such as care for others, as well as many skills and much knowledge to be able to carry out the type of jobs that these men handle. Without these values, skills, and knowledge possessed by this type of social worker, they would not be able to do the things they do and make the kind of courageous acts that they perform. Not any Average Joe is suitable for this profession. Values The values that are needed to work as a social worker in this agency are ones of care and values that involve making the community as safe and as best as it can be. One must really care about personal safety of other human beings and must have the ambition to help others that are in need. Without values such as these, one would not be able to gain the position that my uncle has acquired as Fire Chief and would not be able to run a successful fire unit like the Westlake Fire Department. Some conflicts that Mr. Wilson noted on as being the Fire Chief is that he must make choices and decisions in clutch times that are based on the best interest of the people involved. He said that sometimes he must make decisions that are not fully agreed on by his unit, but that he must use his own knowledge and values to think of the best way to solve the everyday crises that are placed in his hands. Among some of the acts Mr. Wilson told me that he is involved in that directly reflect a social worker are going to retirement homes. He told me that his unit voluntarily visits these homes to visit with and talk to the elderly people. He says that after carrying out acts like these he really gets a sense of gratitude, and that is what keeps him going from day to day as the Fire Chief. These acts alone can be seen as ones that only people with very coveted values make. Not just anyone can go out and serve his community and help elderly people when they are in need. Mr. Wilson also said that the conflicts between his unit are fixed at regular squad meetings where they discuss his own past decisions and try to reach better answers for future events that may occur. He said communication is a key part of his profession, because when working with a whole community it takes a lot of team effort to help every single person. Don Wilson.

Knowledge Much knowledge is needed to be able to hold the role that Mr. Wilson does in his community. Like Mr. Wilson, must hold much knowledge in the field of health. Examples such as knowing the human body in cases of fire or suffocation show that this knowledge is vital. Mr. Wilson told me that obviously techniques such as CPR must be known to be able to work in his profession. Also, general health facts about the human body must be known to ensure the safety of every person of the community that he is responsible for. Next, when asked about how he stays up-to-date on the new knowledge in the field, Mr. Wilson told me that they are constantly receiving new health information that they discuss in their meetings so that they have the best opportunity of helping others. With this knowledge, the people of this profession are in the best condition to help in the many situations that arise on their job. If they did not have this knowledge, they would not be able to make successful decisions and be able to do what is best for the people in need. Skills

Decision making skills are vital for the job as a Fire Chief and Director of Public Safety. This is true because Mr. Wilson must make split-second decisions when calls for help are made to him. The lives of many people of his community are in danger when he must make decisions for the safety of others. One must be able to assess the situation and make the most logical decision, keeping the peoples safety in mind, he says. Three main skills that are needed come to mind whenever I think about Mr. Wilsons profession and they are: Dedicated worker- Social workers of this profession must be extremely hard workers. They must also be dedicated to the job and must be committed to never taking a single minute off while on duty. He or she must be ready for anything at any time of the day and must be willing to put all personal problems or issues aside to focus on the task at hand. This is very true for almost all social work professions, as they must be dedicated to what they do and committed to serving the people that are in need. Helper- This profession requires one to be a very good helper. No matter what the situation is or what is needed from them, they must be willing to help. The everyday tasks described by Mr. Wilson go right along with those of social workers and the duties they must carry out. Helping is a key word in every single profession involving social work, because that is the number one goal, to help the people that one is responsible for giving aid to. Team-player- Being a Fire Chief requires a lot of team effort because the unit must work together and act as one to get the great tasks that are placed before them completed. Also, this profession requires one to be a team player because he or she must think about the well-being of those around him or her, and not just themselves. These social workers must be able to communicate and cooperate with not only their unit, but also the community as a whole to know what is needed for their own safety.

What tasks does the social worker perform on a daily or weekly basis? When asked how social work prepared himself for his job and the things that he goes through every day, Mr. Wilson said that it helps him out tremendously. He says that having an education in social work prepares him for the kind of encounters that he comes in contact with on his job. Also, he told me that it is necessary for him to have these skills of a social worker so that he can communicate properly with the people in need of help and also to have empathy for their situations. He said that understanding the situations that these people are in helps him assess a more logical answer to their problems. Mr. Wilson said he would not have this type of thinking and techniques if it was not for his education and skills in the social work field. As far as paperwork goes, Mr. Wilson told me that he has to log all of the calls that are made to the department and put them in the system so that he has a history of events for future knowledge. This helps him stay organized, he says, and helps keep track of all information in case it is ever needed for proof of anything. Positives and negatives about social work My uncle says that his ability to relate to the people of his communitys needs and to be able to develop decisions in crucial times help him stay in his profession. He tells me if it wasnt for his ability to do this, he would not hold the skills necessary to succeed in this field. When asked if he could change anything about his job, my uncle says only the bad outcomes. He says he hates when he witnesses a child drown or a fire ruin a familys home. He says that he just wish he had the power to help in all situations and that he could do everything he could to prevent every single negative thing. Mr. Wilson says that he loves doing what he does so that he can help prevent this type of thing from happening, but that also he must understand that it is a part of his job to witness these things happening. He tells me this is another skill one must have in this profession, to be able to deal with these kinds of situations that are hard to handle. Connection to class All of the things that I learned from my uncle about his profession and role as a social worker in his community were directly parallel to the skills, values, and knowledge we have learned about social workers this semester. All of the values such as care for others and the drive to do what is best for the community are the same from in class and in my uncles job. The skills such as being a hardworker, being able to communicate with others, and having good decision-making skills can be seen from in class and talked about in my interview with my uncle, Don Wilson. Also, the knowledge that is needed to perform these kinds of acts and hold this great amount of responsibility is high. One must be very educated to do the kinds of things that my uncle does, as well as all of the professions we have talked about in class. But overall, the professions discussed in class and my uncles profession all hold the same core value; all social working professions focus on helping others. Reaction Even though it is not my personal career ambition, I could definitely see myself as holding a job with a social worker background. Just seeing the things that my uncle does and the way he impacts other people sparks an interest inside me that shows me I could do this type of thing too. Helping other people is always a good deed, and I believe I also have the skills needed to do so. If I was in the field of social work, I think some value conflicts would arise involving decision making. I believe that many answers to issues are not clear; so much room for debate is always available. I believe that this would present itself as the main problem if I was to be in the social work profession, but I believe that with the skills, values, and knowledge that I would acquire from a social work education I would be able to overcome these conflicts and develop a successful profession in social work.