A window into the life of a social worker

The Call to Social Work, Second Edition is a presentation of narrative descriptions about the work and life of a wide variety of contemporary social workers. The book provides an in-depth understanding of why people choose social work, how they garner meaning from their work, and what they struggle with as they provide needed services. Additionally, it presents more information about the everyday practice of social work, both the challenges and the joys. Instructors who use this book in their courses will be able to contrast their ideals of practice with the realities captured in each life story, while students who read the book will be able to think about whether each story represents good practice, or what principles they would adhere to based on their understanding of social work.

Having a Personal Mission

Having a personal mission

These stories illuminate the “why” of social work. Social workers describe how their personal mission is reflected in spiritual beliefs, advocacy to abolish the death penalty, addressing one's own grief, and the promotion of cultural competence.

Questions to Consider While You Read

  • How does a personal mission become a public mission?
  • How might a past experience benefit or impede social work practice?
  • What are the positive aspects of social work? Do they outweigh the extreme difficulty that the job entails?
  • How should self-care be integrated into professional social work practice?

Karen Van Vuren

I've always been a social worker. It's just something that comes naturally. I could be with a total stranger and within five minutes know the “essence” of his or her life. I ...

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