The concentration year of my MSW at UNC has been underway for two weeks now and I have already learned so much. I am taking an exciting course load that contributes to my professional development and ties in nicely with my field placement.
I am interning at UNC Family Medicine this year and that means I spend my Tuesday mornings in SOWO 845: Health Theory & Practice. Two of the textbooks for this class are already among my favorite assigned books for the program as they provide valuable insight into the minds and experiences of patients, patients’ families, and medical providers. The class discussions, led by our instructor Dr. Mimi Chapman, are certainly going to lend to my learning and I am looking forward to using the classroom to process some of the clinical experiences I have at my field placement.
Additionally, I was realizing how lucky I am today that I started my MSW right when the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was being released. For those of us who want to do direct practice, the DSM-5 is the penultimate text for understanding and diagnosing mental disorders and provides valuable guidance for clinical practice. The DSM-5 was released in May of this year, 13 years after the last major revision of the DSM-IV, just in time for Dr. Howard to develop a full-semester curriculum, SOWO 769, around the text.
Lastly I am augmenting my clinical knowledge with SOWO 700: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs with Marty Weems. Substance use and abuse touches many patients and families in the world of medical social work and I am really glad that I was able to fit this class into my schedule to give me a better understanding of substance abuse and treatment options for those who have substance abuse problems.
Even though I have a lot of reading to do this semester, I can already tell that it is going to be worthwhile. I’m excited to already see how much this fall is going to prepare me to work with patients at my placement and in my future career.