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Friday, June 1

From the Pen of the President: June 2018

Mary Gollings
NASW-Illinois Chapter President

The month of May is a reminder that a summer of cookouts and swimming is just around the corner. The extended daylight is perhaps my favorite. May always signifies graduation time as well, which I find quite exciting as a social worker. Knowing that new graduates are entering the field with eagerness, ideas, and new perspectives which will positively impact our profession is truly something to celebrate.

I have been involved with field instruction for more years than not, and one of the most treasured experiences I have each year is talking about career planning. Students have often shared with me the difficulty associated with finally having the MSW but not being seen as a professional. To help them through the “new grad years,” I often focus our last conversations on how to establish themselves as a professional, valued employee while working toward being a go-to for their skills, and then finally being seen as a subject matter expert. A crucial part of this trajectory, though, is licensure. I believe calling ourselves a Social Worker is a great privilege we earn and work to maintain. NASW and our profession’s efforts to promote our professional capabilities in the marketplace among other disciplines, as well as our own skills, expansive roles, and unique abilities to serve our clients, puts meaning behind the license. I promote the value of the exclusivity and honor that title brings at all points in one’s career, including those first few years as a new graduate defining their path and expertise. I look forward to the new graduates taking their first steps into social work through position and earning their LSW credentials. And I extend my congratulations to each and every one of them. I also thank our fellow social workers in the academic world and at instruction sites helping this next group take the plunge into the greatest profession I know. Cheers!

Mary Gollings (MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; LCSW) is currently social work supervisor at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, IL, overseeing clinical social workers in medicine and surgery services, primary care, and specialty clinics. Prior to serving the profession as supervisor, Mary worked in the VA system’s Geriatric Extended Care services and inpatient medicine service. She then served for several years as program coordinator and clinical social worker for veterans with sinal cord Injuries. Prior to joining the Jesse Brown VA, Mary worked at the Captain Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Mary has served on local, regional, and national committees to help with efforts on system redesign and process improvement as well as promotion of patient-centered care. She has also served on local and regional professional standard boards and continuing education committees to ensure that the highest level of professional standards in social work are met. Mary serves as field instructor for second-year MSW students and as mentor for social workers new to the professional field to assist them in their professional growth. Mary served on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors since 2010 as member at-large and served as treasurer for the chapter’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Mary also served as chair of the 2015 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference. She is an active volunteer with JDRF, mentoring children with Type One Diabetes and their families, as well as fundraising for research in the field.

Posted on 06/01/18 at 08:00 AM


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