Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"I never knew I could act so strange. I always wanted to make sense."

I'm a bad social worker. Well, okay, I do an okay job being a social worker, except for the part where everything is supposed to be documented. See I can find referrals, provide counseling, make phone calls to impress on other's the urgency of my client's situation, generally try to help people understand how to interact with someone who is mentally ill, and work on behavior change with the best of them.

But I hate the mundane...and for the most part charting is mundane. I report, without embellishment, my interaction with a client. Keep it bare. Keep it clinical. Just the facts, ma'am.

And I get clausterphobic just thinking about it. And I procrastinate doing it, like I procrastinate other mundane activities (believe it or not, I also get clausterphobic if I have to do a lot of photocopying or faxing).

I don't know why this happens. Just writing about it makes me feel foggy and a little out-of-body.

This wouldn't be an issue, if I'd had someone who helped me structure all of this in the past (because I just haven't been able to get a handle on how to do it for myself). But my former manager wasn't big on documentation. Today, the interim manager talked about this with us (me and my co-worker). She's big on this. She audits charts.

And now I'm panicked. Now, I know that she'll think that I'm a bad social worker. I'm legitimately worried about what this means about my job.

And I'm secretly pleased. I know that once the panic passes, just knowing that someone will be looking over my shoulder will keep me up to date...and I know that keeping up to date actually keeps the feeling of clausterphobia at bay (because really it's all about having more to do than I think I can do).

And how fucked is all of this, I ask....Why can't I figure out how to do this on my own?


Alecya Giovanni said...

This is actually something that happens to other people? It used to happen to me all the time at the law office and my doc just gave me pills for that sort of thing.

At least you recognize the problem and try to work through it.

You'll do just fine, I know it. Have you tried to intersperse it with other things that aren't so bad? Or go somewhere relaxing to do it? Like outside or a cofffee shop? That might make you feel less clinical.

Good luck {{}}


LavaLady said...

I struggle with documentation in every area of my life. I dont' know where my bills are, the title to my house, my back taxes. I can't keep anything straight. I get immediately foggy when challenged with finding and organizing things. It sucks! I need to go through things soon, lots of paper work to deal with before putting my house on the market...

I empathize and sympathize as well.

Flash said...


I can draft up whole lists of songs & artists & films, etc. I will keep them up to date & in perfect order. I also do a reasonable job at work with keeping documentation in order but if you asked to see my last bank statement or my TV lisence then we'd be struggling!

Hyde said...

I think every job has things like that... It doesn't make you a bad social worker! :)

Besides, if that were the case, then I'm just bad at life, because try as I may, I just can't seem to get my house clean, my bills together on time, my sleep schedule normalized, my diet and exercise in check, or my alcohol intake regulated. But I don't think I'm bad at life. And I don't think that makes you a bad social worker!

Hippy Chick said...

Because paperwork sucks! It's hard enough going through the interactions with clients and then having to rehash them again on paper or computer is draining...don't be so hard on yourself!

spinsterwitch said...

And it's never as easy as just sitting down to write notes, as there is always something to follow-up on. Blech!

Actually, I am doing better today. It just takes awhile for the initial adrenaline buzz to wear off.

the urban fox said...

So you don't like boring stuff. DOES THAT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON?

(clue: NO)

Aravis said...

We had a chart at work for team meetings on our clients which might work for you. One column had the date, the middle was for notes, and the third was to list follow-up action to be taken. You could make a similar chart for yourself to document your sessions and any follow-up you need for each client/session.

I was always excellent at organizing things at work or whatever project I've undertaken, but my house is always a disorganized mess. It's like I'm completely two different people. I don't want to be, but there you have it. I come home, relax and get sloppy.

cutie said...

Egads, girl!

This is typical for MOST social workers...because we are social workers, not technical writers, or business people.

It's kind of the nature of the beast. I'm ALWAYS behind on my paperwork...and I work for the government. I'm a do-er not an organizer.

Of course, this always pisses off the big bosses...because stats are how they get funded, bonuses, etc.

My boss always suggests things like:
1. Set aside a time everyday, like 8-10am to type reports, file, whatever.

2. Don't answer the phone during your 'protected time'.

3. Get a little calendar that you can hang up next to your desk/computer and list on the calendar the dates your reports are due.

Sounds great, but it never works out that way.

Good Luck! And you aren't alone.


red one said...

No, you're not alone. I hate admin and I'm terrible at getting down to it. Mind you, I'm terrible at getting down to anything really. I'm a procrastinator with a very low boredom threshhold.



Lord Bargain said...

you mean there ought to be paperwork?

*gazes out of window*



P'tit-Loup said...

I don't think it qualifies as a "bad" social worker to be behing in notes. At my agency we all moan about documentation and we all are usually somewhat late filling it in. Not answering the phone sounds great in theory, but in practice it may a kid needing to be hospitalized that you are not responding to. So ignoring the phone or the staff that works in the field with some of our young clients may lead to a disaster. So we just groan and do it when we get to it!