Choices, Choices, Choices

The end of the semester is just around the corner and I can taste the freedom that comes with the end of the semester and Christmas vacation!

Along with the end of the semester comes registration for spring classes and I found myself with choices, more choices than I’ve ever had in my academic career. I’m still amazed at how many academic/classroom opportunities UNC provides, especially for people in a health concentration. Up until recently the mental health and health tracks were just one track. Students got a little of both avenues of social work because many times people view healthcare as being similar to mental health.  However, now UNC has separated the mental health and health into two separate tracks. So, now students that want to have a specific focus in healthcare can get more experience and education in that area which I am so excited about because I never was truly interested in mental health but all the schools I had applied to previously coupled mental health and healthcare together.

The choices UNC provides truly allow me to tailor my academic schedule to my goals as a student and as a social worker . But, there were so many it was hard to decide which ones to take from disability policy and health access policy, to motivational interviewing, and professional use of self just to name a few.  All together I counted 15 different advanced practice short courses to choose from and at least 6 different policy courses. From my point of view that’s a lot to choose from. Plus, all 15 of those short courses and the 6 policy courses are just for second year students, that really shows that UNC values students and giving students the right to choose.

In the end choices had to be made and I had to register for just a few of the many courses that were offered, but I’m glad I chose the ones I did.  Here’s a glimpse at my classes next semester and a little explanation behind why I chose them

Facilitative Leadership: Whether you are in healthcare, child welfare, school social work, or mental health it is important to learn leadership skills and how to be an effective leader. In the healthcare system there are usually many leaders and those leaders collaborate with one another to make decisions that affect many people and employees. This class will equip with the skills I need to not only be an effective leader in the future but also help me learn to facilitate leadership among my coworkers and collaborate with other leaders in a way that is productive.

Differential Diagnosis of Mental Health Disorders: I know I said I was not truly interested in mental health, and that’s not my focus. But, in the healthcare system the DSM IV is used on a constant basis as diagnoses are important and are the center around which the treatment plan is formulated. Many patients may have a mental health diagnosis secondary to the primary reason they are in the hospital but knowledge of that mental health diagnosis is important to formulate an effective treatment and discharge plan.

Motivational Interviewing: I chose this class because motivational interviewing is a technique I’ve used in the past. In healthcare many of the patients seen are struggling to admit or change a problem they know exists. Treatment adherence is also a big issue with patients who are admitted to the hospital. Motivational interviewing will equip me with the knowledge and skills to help patients change their behavior, enhance their treatment adherence and resolve ambivalence toward change in a way that is less confrontational and “well here’s what you need to do” approach. It will also allow patients to realize on their own that they have a problem and what they need to do to change their behavior or enhance their treatment adherence.

I’m so excited to take all of these classes and as I take them I will make sure to provide updates on what I have learned.

At UNC you are given a voice and given a choice!

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About Brittany Anderson

Hi my name is Brittany Anderson and I am a full time advanced standing student at UNC Chapel Hill. The program started in May and I'm now in my second semester, I will graduate in May 2011! I am here to give you a student's perspective on the various aspects of the UNC Chapel Hill Advanced Standing MSW program and to help you as you decide if UNC's MSW program is the right choice for you whether you want to be advanced standing or decide to go another track like full time. My interests are medical social work with pediatric bone marrow transplant and pediatric hematology/oncology as well as social work with children who have physical disabilities. I am originally from Michigan but I went to undergrad in Illinois and now I live in North Carolina and the weather is so much nicer. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the advanced standing program or UNC School of Social Work in general. My email is banders4@email.unc.edu. Best Wishes!
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