You have questions, and we have answers! We sat down with Director of Social Work Stephanie Zevon, who unlocked the answers to common social work questions we receive at Cobble Hill!
Q: What sort of schedule can a social worker expect?
Our team works full-time hours and rotates working weekends and holidays. The weekend requirement includes Saturdays and Sundays, which is approximately one weekend every 4-6 weeks. Our team discusses weekend and holiday coverage with plenty of notice, so there are no surprises.
When you work a weekend shift, you get two other days off during the week, so you always work a five-day work week.
Q: How is the team structured?
Our team includes me, the Director, four social workers, and one assistant.
Q: What’s a typical day like as a social worker?
Often, the days come at us quickly. We may come in one plan, but something might occur on the unit, and we must quickly deviate to a more pressing need. We must be able to refocus on something else and not get flustered. Often, we have many moving parts at one time, so we need to be organized and be able to ask for support from our team if we are struggling.
Q: Do you offer supervision?
We don’t require a license to be considered for a position here. The demand for social needs regarding housing, family complexities, increase in homecare hours, and regulatory assignments, among other needs, means that there isn’t much time available for real clinical counseling time.
We do, however, have psychology and psychiatry in the building, which is their focus. While we don’t offer supervision, our team is highly collaborative, meaning there is much to learn from one another!
Q: What is the caseload for each social worker?
With our facility holding 364 beds, each social worker is assigned to two units and manages around 75 residents. While the number may seem high, not all residents have needs at the same time. For example, you may have 30 active issues, with the majority being “touching base,” regulatory type work, annual assessments, quarterlies, and care plans.
Q: What populations do social workers work with?
Our focus is on the older adult and geriatric population, and people are here for various reasons. It could be for short or long-term rehabilitation, palliative care, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or substance abuse. We have seen a rise in admissions with polysubstance abuse, but we refer them to psychiatry and offer NA or AA meetings, which has been manageable.
Q: What challenges can a social worker expect coming into this role?
The needs of our residents are complex, especially socially. They may be struggling emotionally, socially, or economically, and at times, it could be difficult to determine which challenge to address first.
The depths of some family dynamics could also present challenges at times, but luckily our team is collaborative, so you’ll have support in overcoming any obstacles.
Q: What behavioral situations can someone expect to encounter in a social work position?
We see it all! Fear, joy, anger, excitement, frustration – a strong social worker needs to be like a chameleon, able to adapt to the situation quickly and navigate their way through it. There is support from myself as the Director if you’re struggling, and I have an “open-door” management style in that you can come to me with any challenges or text me to meet you on the unit.
Q: What is the partnership between social work and the clinical nursing team?
There is a clinical huddle twice a week that I participate in, so our team is always well-connected. Social workers work closely with the nurses on the units, with PT/OT and dieticians. We also communicate with them directly through a texting platform called Tiger Text.
Q: How do you keep your team inspired and motivated?
I pride myself on building a team where we bounce off one another and grow continuously in a field we love. We do everything in our power to make Cobble Hill a welcoming environment for our residents while guiding them and allowing them to guide us through their needs and wants during their time here. The ability to advocate for patients who don’t always have the ability to do so for themselves makes the challenging days worth it, and those experiences bring joy and gratitude.
Our team supports each other, and if one of us is struggling, we will pull someone in to help. While you are responsible for “your units,” you are not alone. We divide and conquer.
Q: What are the top traits you look for when hiring someone for your social work team?
Flexibility, a sense of humor, compassion, and the ability to understand the need to connect with each resident on a level they will understand. It’s important that someone is adaptable, can quickly assess a situation, and do what’s needed to redirect or diffuse. Most importantly, you must want to be a part of a team.
Q: What is training and onboarding like?
Since we hire people from various backgrounds and experiences, we typically train our new hires by teaming them up with other seasoned social workers and using the buddy system to observe the units and how we work through whatever arises. It’s vital that any new social worker has the opportunity to observe CCP, admissions, and discharges and get a sense of different social work styles and approaches.
Depending on how quickly you’re picking up and any level of prior skilled nursing facility (SNF) experience will determine when you’re assigned to your caseload. Some might be given quicker than others, but you will never be on an island alone!
If you’re ready to help set the standard for excellence in residential and community care, check out our careers at Cobble Hill. #LifeatCobbleHill