Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The skeleton key

photo by grassrootsmsw

"Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the torture of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it, you find that forever after you are freer than you were before."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The idea or notion of 'impossibility' is so often present when working within the political realms of the health care world. Robert Fulton has described the hospice movement as a counterrevolutionary movement that, "takes its stand against a secularized, impersonal, utilitarian and increasingly hostile world."

As a social worker, I am held to a code of ethics that requires responsibility to the broader society. While my goals of providing compassionate and skillful care to patients and families is paramount, I often must confront and contend with a bureaucratic system that stands in the way. Navigating this entangling and frustrating web of red tape requires creative and enduring will power. It asks that I continuously maintain my focus of professional values, and protect and defend. In the most challenging moments, I must present a tough and stern exterior, when my core is instinctively based in compromise and consensus.

Although demanding and arduous, defending and protecting reputable principles, unveils truth. Even as truth may bring out the unpleasant and the uncomfortable, it is based in integrity and sincerity. This level of authenticity is difficult to refute. Truth may open unforeseen and unsightly wounds, but at least the wounds are and exposed...prepared to be dealt with, treated, and healed.

While it may often seem that we face closed, sealed doors in our mission to heal and protect, maybe we can choose to reframe, and see the opportunity for teaching, guiding, and opening. It is within the skilled psycho-social abilities of social workers to find the skeleton key that can unlock all doors.

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