Tips on how to meet the PCF domain of professionalism in social work practice
Pay attention to your appearance – this includes the clothes you wear, shoes, hair and even the way you walk. I find that wearing neutral colours gives an impression that I am focused on my job.
- Pay attention to the way you speak. Speak or communicate more clearly and confidently. Learning how to articulate your thoughts in a clear and engaging way is key. If you struggle with speaking confidently, it can hinder your career growth.
- Do not consume yourself with negative thoughts such as “I hope I am saying the right thing,” or “am I saying the right thing?” they cause you to sound shaky and you need to shift yourself away from self-doubt to knowing your value.
- Ask smart questions – do not be limited in what you know. Broaden your knowledge so you can ask smart questions. The trick here is to ask why? When you ask smart questions, you can drive efficiencies and process improvements as you are asking why things are done in a certain way.
- Know when you are not the expert. Don’t speak ‘gibberish’! Saying a lot of wrong things leads to issues where people lose trust in you and will no longer come to you for answers. It is OK not to know much about a particular topic. Take it as a learning opportunity “you can say, I am not an expert in this but we can approach X who is very good” To know when you don’t know something shows maturity and self awareness.
- When engaging with people in the community, professionals or colleagues, always do what you say you will do and provide feedback.
- Engage in constant reflective practice and refer to useful resources regularly, such as community care and skills for care.
What does professionalism mean?
A statement by www.dol.gov highlights that “Employers want new workers to be responsible, ethical, and team-oriented, and to possess strong communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.
Wrap these skills up together and you’ve got professionalism”. This means that to have professionalism means you should work on your communication skills, problem- solving and interpersonal skills.
These skills can be worked on regularly. There are online resources you can access via community care or skills for care.
Why is professionalism important in social work?
The skills required in order to have ‘professionalism’ can be worked on.
Everyone has the opportunity to work on this. It impacts on the people you work with and also the organisation you work for.
Take a moment to think and reflect on the culture of the organisation you work for.
Do you think professionalism has an impact on the way people work? Does it affect the experiences of the people you support in the community?
Does it make you/others more or less effective at work? Does it make the organisation a place people enjoy working for? Think about what professionalism means to you and reflect on what you do that makes you a professional.
Also reflect on whether you are able to improve any aspect of your skills, abilities and outlook to help improve your professionalism.