Interview with Sinead McLaughlin, Bilingual Therapist in Boston

7.) What kind of advice would you give to recent social work grads as they embark on their career?

Sinead: To be open and follow their curiosity to whatever their interest is in; continuing to learn about different ways to work with clients or patients, to keep your curiosity and interest alive.

In our profession you can run into burnout, if you’re working too many hours or if you’re not getting enough support, or compensation through your pay.  So it’s so important to be able to make sure you’re in an area that you feel passionate about – not just because it’s a job – but something that makes you want to keep learning.

Personally I never feel completely comfortable and satisfied with where I’m at; I always feel like there’s more to learn and I want to be better at what I do, so I’m always yearning to learn more.

KP: Yes and what you’re saying would apply to most fields, but I’m really glad you mentioned the piece about burnout, as studies show that healthcare works have high rates of burnout.  Particularly in some of the areas you’re talking about where as a clinician you’re working with a lot of trauma – you can get secondary trauma from that exposure.

Sinead: Lastly, my advice to recent social work grads is to surround yourself with others who are also interested in the work, who also have that passion.  This can be in the form of individual or peer supervision, and by regularly attending trainings and conferences of interest.

Surround yourself with people like that so you can get support and share ideas – that can help a lot with motivation, stress management and improving clinical outcomes as well.

KP:  What you’re saying makes a lot of sense.  To sum it up, it’s about inspiration + community at the core – feeling inspired about your work and collaborating with others in the community.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview.

Sinead: It’s been my pleasure.

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