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Kerry Siggins female leadership development coach


Heart To Heart: From One Griever to Another: Social Worker Appreciation

Mar 14, 2023

Dear Social Worker Heart,

March is Social Work Appreciation Month, and it is the perfect time to thank social workers for all they do. I want to offer a sincere thanks to all of my fellow Social Workers.

It can be hard to thank someone for doing so much, and difficult to put into words the gratitude felt for the many things social workers do. As a social worker, I know firsthand how crucial and important social workers are in our world, and how a little recognition can go a long way.

It has made me reflective on my journey as a social worker.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse. My mom and other relatives were nurses and this influenced my desire to become one as well. However, as often happens in life, my plans changed shortly after starting college. I realized that the nursing program wasn’t the right fit for me, it was a tough decision to make. I knew that a did want to be in the “helping profession”, and that’s when I discovered the Social Work track and switched majors.

After I graduated college, I worked as a substance abuse counselor for a few years, and while I learned a lot felt affirmed that it wasn’t quite the right position. A beautiful thing about social work is that there are so many fields and areas that you can practice in, and it’s more about finding what is a good fit for you personally that fits your personality, skills and passion. I had personal experience with hospice, and so when a position came up for a hospice social worker, I applied and got the job.

Fast forward to 17 years later, and I’m still working in the end-of-life field, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Throughout my career, I have worked in small, rural communities as well as larger, urban settings, and no matter the place, there are always other social workers working hard to help our communities. Social workers usually wear many hats to provide care and can be some of the most resourceful and compassionate people I have ever met.

I’ve also seen how many social workers are the unsung heroes in our community; working in the background of organizations. Many people may not even know they are there or what all they do. For many of us, that’s okay, we’re not in it for the recognition or the praise. We will humbly continue to work to better the lives of the people we serve.

That doesn’t mean thanks and appreciation should be forgotten!

While March is Social Worker Appreciation Month, I think it is best to recognize and thank social workers all year round for all the hard work they do.

What we do matters!

I am thankful to the social workers in my life who have helped me both personally and professionally. The ones that other agencies that partner with me to provide groups and workshops, or to the social workers from across the country that share their resources and information to help me provide better care and support. The ones who hold space so others can share their feelings, fears, worries and problems knowing the social worker won’t try to “fix them”, but will be there to let you cry, yell, and help you find solutions to whatever it is you’re going through.

Often when people ask what I do, I give the short explanation to a very complex job, but am always certain to explain that I am here to help people move through their grief. Many people’s response is “Oh, that must be so depressing, I could never do that!” And I have to say that may be true. Social work isn’t for everyone. My follow-up when people say things like that is that I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t more rewarding than challenging. I am sure many other social workers feel the same. We do not do it for recognition or the pay, we don’t do it because it’s glamorous. We are social workers because we want to empower others and provide them with support to help themselves and have a better life.

I found this poem by Monique Renee Smith a while back, and I have saved it because it says what many of us social workers feel, and that it can help you understand a little more about why we do what we do.


Why Be a Social Worker?

Monique Renee Smith

“Why be a social worker?” people often ask of me.
“The pay isn’t high, and the paperwork is beyond belief. The stress you must have, dealing with people’s problems all day.”
So I look at them, and I try my best to explain.
“The pay won’t make me rich, you are right about that. The paperwork is insane, and we always need more staff.”
“Yes people come to me with a lot to explain. From broken homes, trauma, and unimaginable pain.”
But you asked, “why be a social worker” so let me share with you why I continue to do what I do.
It’s the light in people’s eyes, when they first find that hope.
When they empower themselves, and finally learn to cope.
It’s watching them find a new life, one they actually want to live.
It’s the joy of the families, as they reunite and forgive.
It’s that one day you wonder, “am I really making a difference in what I do?”
Then your email reads, “I am happy and well, and I want to thank you”
That’s when you know…I say with a tear…there could not be a more rewarding career


To the non-social workers who read this letter, I hope you remember to thank a social worker for what they do.

And to my fellow social workers, keep up the good work, you are amazing!



Carrie Bauer
March 2023