Carol Myers-Austin

Antioch College


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00:00:00 - Introduction / Early Life as a Social Worker

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Partial Transcript: This is Hannah Kenny. Today is July 23, 2019 and we are working on the project "Self-Care: The Social Worker's Story."

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin shares about her early years as a social worker as well as the shift in social work over time, saying that she has always worked in health care. She first worked in a nursing home that had a special unit for children. She has also worked for hospice, home care, and hospitals. She elaborates on the role of the family system in her work with children. As she speaks to the presenting problems of her clients, she notes that she was often the only social worker in the facility. Nonetheless, she felt supported by the other staff.

Keywords: alcohol; child protective services; children; closed-head injury; divorce; driving; early years; emotional; family; health; health care; hospice; hospital; medical; referral; social work; substance abuse; trauma

Subjects: early years; social work

00:08:21 - The Role of Secondary Trauma in Social Work

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Partial Transcript: I also would imagine that the conversations about secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, burnout, have evolved a lot too.

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin explains that it is important to be realistic and take care of yourself to alleviate compassion fatigue. She shares that in her personal experience, working with clients who have substance abuse cases has been challenging.

Keywords: burnout; challenge; compassion fatigue; forefront; helping professions; realistic; secondary trauma; self-care; substance abuse; understanding

Subjects: compassion fatigue; secondary trauma

00:09:56 - Current Role as a Social Worker

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Partial Transcript: So clients come to the hospital and meet with you for different medical consultations?

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin discusses her role as a hospital social worker. She covers the entire hospital, from the family birth center to the emergency room. She also works with clients who have been diagnosed with cancer, clients with chemical dependencies, and suicidal clients. She primarily shares resources with the clients to get them the help they need.

Keywords: abuse; cancer; family birth center; hospital; mental health; resources; screen; self-care; sober; social work; substance abuse; suicide; trauma

Subjects: hospital; resources

00:13:36 - Preventing Burnout in the Field

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Partial Transcript: How do you deal with that trauma that you see here and how have you been able to stay in the profession for so long without burnout?

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin shares that working part-time and having good boundaries have helped her stay in the profession for a long time. She has realistic expectations regarding the role that she plays in helping clients, knowing that she cannot change or fix them.

Keywords: boundaries; burnout; change; client; hospital; ongoing; part-time; profession; realistic; resources; social work; trauma

Subjects: burnout; longevity

00:15:53 - Boundary Setting

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Partial Transcript: So, how do you set those boundaries with your clients while still showing them that you care about them?

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin talks about being empathic and an active listener to show care. She says that you can be supportive without thinking that you have to fix or change anything.

Keywords: alongside; change; empathic; fix; hospital; listen; social work; story; support; talk; walk

Subjects: empathic; listen

00:16:59 - The Need for Self-Care / Methods of Self-Care

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Partial Transcript: So you talked kind of about perspective taking, and you've talked about having friends who are social workers, setting boundaries.

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin elaborates on what she does for self-care, which includes walking outside every day, having pets, and setting boundaries with how she volunteers her time. She also notes that it is important to have healthy self-care methods that work for you. She talks about the prevalence of burnout as it relates to having a self-care routine.

Keywords: activity; beach; burnout; conversation; exercise; healthy; pets; places; self-care; vacations

Subjects: self-care; walking

00:21:35 - Advice to Emerging Social Workers

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Partial Transcript: So, based on your own story of self-care and your own experiences in the social work field, what kind of advice would you want to give to emerging social workers?

Segment Synopsis: Myers-Austin advises that emerging social workers take care of their own personal therapy needs before attempting to help others. She also recommends having good supervision and setting good boundaries. This includes being realistic about the role that the social worker plays and not trying to fix clients.

Keywords: advice; boundaries; emerging; expectations; fix; health care; realistic; self-care; social work; supervision; therapy

Subjects: advice; realistic