Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thinking on Your Toes and Faking it

I admire other case managers’ (and social workers) ability to respond quickly and effectively to a completely new situation. This is something I'm continuing to work on. It’s refreshing to constantly deal with new situations because I’m always learning. Not only that, but it’s also outside of my comfort zone, which is just what I need. I like it when I can follow a certain procedure. Need to apply or reapply for food stamps, I’ll help you with that. Need legal guidance for issues concerning your housing, I’ve got a list of referrals. But then something catches me off guard. A client comes in for a routine appointment to check in with me and I notice he has purples bruises on his arms. Yes, he got the bruises a few days back. But he doesn’t want to discuss that, or the fact his arm is really hurting (which I can tell because occasionally he moans and grabs it). What he really wants to talk about is how the fan at his apartment makes noise and would I take a look at it? OK, we’ll address the fan, but first let’s get you some medical attention. The client didn’t want to go to the ER but was willing to let me make an appointment for him to see his doctor.

That's when the ability to think on your toes and ability to ‘fake it’ comes in handy. Not faking knowing something you don't, but faking confidence when you don't always have it. I didn't know what was wrong with my client but I recognized it needed attention. As a sidenote, I never knew my guilty pleasure of watching America’s Next Top Model would somehow relate to my case management job. More specifically, Tyra’s advice of “faking it” works in case management. For a person (for that matter it can be a client or a friend) who’s feeling anxiety or is upset it’s very reassuring to have someone working with them who’s able to say, “Let’s figure this out together” even if it’s a situation new to that case manager.

It's situations like those when I'm really not sure what to do I take a couple of moments to run over to another case manager and troubleshoot the situation with them. I'm extremely grateful to my coworkers for times like that.

No comments: