MyNASW: A Community That Supports Each Other
Creating a Network
Imagine you're a social worker living in a rural town who has recently begun practicing independently. While you don’t question the decision to go solo as the correct one, you’ve realized something is missing.
What is it? You need advice, camaraderie and encouragement from your professional peers as you begin this new journey—and it’s become clear it’s not just a “nice to have.” It’s significant and vital to your career and your well-being.
As you’re considering what to do, you remember MyNASW, NASW’s online community. You decide to post, asking for advice on how to connect with others in private practice.
That same day you receive a response from someone in your state, suggesting several local opportunities—a couple that you had considered, but others you hadn’t. Over the next several days, members responded with a range of ideas. Someone nearby has an office to sublet. Another member from further away invites you to join their online private practice group. Next, a local and more experienced social worker, offers to help with insurance or Electronic Health Record-related matters, should you need it.
What do they have in common? Everyone genuinely wants to help. The suggestions are mostly spot-on. And you come away with ideas you would likely not have discovered on your own.
Where Do You Put Yourself?
Social workers regularly encourage clients to find a supportive community and to reach out and utilize it. But sometimes, the helpful advice we share with others is not always the same advice we follow. Not because we don’t believe it, but because we feel too busy and we aren’t sure where to best place our efforts and, as humanitarians, there’s a tendency to put ourselves at the end of the queue.
What about you?
NASW works diligently to bring the profession together to help drive needed change on a broad scale. The organization also strives to understand the unique needs and challenges of social workers and to find valuable solutions that will help them with best practices and save time. One of those solutions is MyNASW, NASW’s online community where professional peers share their own opinions and experiences.
Members Helping Members
While it’s true that sometimes MyNASW contains passionate debate and unique perspectives, the MyNASW platform is also a repository of positive resources and helpful dialogue. By directly connecting with others through the community, members gain direct access to the collective knowledge, experience—and many times, heartfelt support—of social workers everywhere.
To get a sense of the positive posts happening lately on MyNASW, check out these conversations:
A member asked for advice on whether to obtain individual liability insurance, even though they have employer coverage. An employer representative raised concerns about the potential risks associated with personal coverage. And this sparked a multifaceted and insightful discussion on MyNASW.
During the conversation, participants offered compelling perspectives supporting the importance of acquiring individual liability insurance. They questioned the validity of the employer's suggestion and emphasized the need for personal coverage to reduce risk.
Additionally, they highlighted the affordable nature of obtaining insurance, and encouraged others to consider this option. The conversation also delved into the advantages and disadvantages of various insurance providers.
To provide a real-life example, one respondent shared a personal experience where they were falsely accused of misconduct. They recounted the challenging journey, which involved hiring a private attorney and enduring a prolonged resolution process.
This exploration allowed for a well-rounded discussion, not only helping the individual who posed the question, but providing new insights to other participants which can help them make more informed decisions regarding their own liability insurance choices.
Pros and Cons of Graduate School
A 2022 BSW graduate asked the community for advice about attending graduate school and working full-time simultaneously.
Members quickly responded with a wide range of considerations, including the costs associated with graduate school, the reputation and quality of various programs, the availability of online options, the potential need for relocation, and the value of networking.
An aspect that emerged was the exploration of what employers typically seek in a candidate. Participants shared personal experiences and discussed the qualities and skills that make applicants stand out.
Members also discussed the realities of juggling full-time work and pursuing an MSW simultaneously. A college professor offered insights into how well students tend to fare and members shared stories of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their choices.
Someone pointed out that certain institutions offer structured MSW programs spanning 2.5, 3, or 4 years, allowing students to continue working at least part of the year. Another respondent shared that the Veterans Administration (VA) planned to offer free tuition at any accredited school for applicants willing to commit to a six-year job with the VA.
The challenges of integrating fieldwork into the equation were explored, and members recounted their own experiences of doing this successfully. Someone else advised that you should make sure the chosen program will effectively coordinate field placements for you.
The Next Time You Need Help
The next time you’re seeking information—and could benefit from support, collaboration and growth—consider visiting MyNASW. Your time can be a great investment in yourself and as a benefit you’re helping others who can learn from the questions and comments you post, all while you build your network. As always, plan to evaluate advice from peers, just as you would in person.
To explore other ways social workers are helping social workers, go to MyNASW. If you’re not an NASW member, join now, to gain full access to the MyNASW community.