John Sergent, Ambulatory Social Worker, Mercy Hospital; KU BSW and MSW
I choose Social Work because it gave me an opportunity to understand the hardships of my past much better and change the trajectory of my future. Social Work is one of the most universally recognized professions in the delivery of both national and international social service programs. Initially, I received my Bachelor of Social Work, which provided many opportunities at the state level during my tenure as an investigator in Child Protective Services, as well as, opportunities in Higher Education, as a Trainer, in the School of Social Welfare. With an interest in advancing my education in social welfare, I completed my Master of Social Work with a concentration in Social Work Administration, A Master's Degree in this concentration of Social Work afforded me many more opportunities to learn about program development, program management, human resources, incorporating evidenced based practice in service delivery, etc. This advanced degree provided a foundation for my introduction into many leadership opportunities with community based behavioral health service programs.
Initially, I managed a Family Resource Center, which was part of a much larger local collaborative, all providing early intervention and prevention services to at risk children and families. The direct service provided by my staff transformed many lives of single mothers and new born children. During my tenure in this agency, a wise leader strongly recommended all leadership staff become licensed at the highest level of their profession. This introduced me into the world of becoming clinically licensed. Fortunately, my education at The University of Kansas enabled me to immediately register in the State of CA, as an Associate Social Worker, and begin accumulating time and supervision for clinical licensure. Shortly after obtaining licensure, my life took a much different direction after a decision was made to relocate to a different state and much smaller community.
Upon arriving in our new life, I quickly learned my clinical licensure would serve me much better than my vast experience in management. I joined the home health community, as a home based clinical social worker and added health care experience to my new arsenal of experience in social work. Little did I know within a year of this journey, we would be faced with another significant move, thereby providing me additional opportunities to utilize my clinical social work experience with my introduction to physician based ambulatory case management services. Within a year in this arena, I accepted a new leadership opportunity in the delivery of employer based health care plans. I am finally utilizing all 21 years of my cumulative experiences in social work. Each area of social work prepared me for my next opportunity, often times, when I didn't ever anticipate the need for such skills or experience. Social Work is the most marketable degree and has afforded me many on-going professional development opportunities, all appropriate to my level of education and experience.