What have I learned: Valarie

Becoming an intern at the MBRC was been a great learning experience for me. I have learned so much about the agency, case management, being out in the field doing social work in general, and more about the opportunities and programs that my own home (Bootheel) has to offer. Everything I learned has been interesting and important to know for my future career.

The agency provides services for multiple populations; the population that I work with doing my case management internship is women that are pregnant or has just recently had a baby. We work with these women all the way up until the baby turns two years old. The purpose of the services is to provide the best services through needs assessments to determine the appropriate services while developing goals and case plans in our goal to prevent infant mortality. Infant mortality is a big issue in many places and due to some circumstances poverty, stress, drugs, and etc. are risk factors that can lead to low birth weights and infant mortality.

Statistics say that in 2016 in low birth weights in Missouri high were 8.7 with the highest state being Mississippi with 11.5. Infant mortality ranked Alabama the highest with 9.1 rates and a total rate of 537 and California being the lowest with 4.2 and 2,057 deaths. Missouri was 6.5 in 2016 with a total rate of 488 deaths with different or multiple factors being the cause of these results. In a comparison of 2016 to 2017 infant mortality, Missouri rate was 6.3 (deaths per 1,000 live births) with Mississippi being the highest with 8.8 and New Hampshire being the lowest with 4.2. These were interesting statistics of the states seeing that from 2016 to 2017 the numbers barely dropped with any of the states. The MBRC is trying their best to prevent infant mortality in the Bootheel which is one of the parts of Missouri with the most poverty.

When discussing this population another thing I didn’t know much about was pregnancy and babies. I don’t have any kids or any babies around me at home to really know what to do and what not to do. I have learned the proper ways to breastfeed, safe sleep, the developmental milestones of a baby to a toddler, and what’s best for the woman’s body as she going through pregnancy. I didn’t know about gestational diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels this is called hyperglycemia. These are all things women need to know during their pregnancy to have them have a healthy pregnancy and the knowledge they need to know once the baby arrives.

I have never worked in an office before interning at the MBRC so this work environment is something new to me as well. I always had an idea of what I expected an office to be like and I could say being in an actual office I know what it is really like. It is quiet I thought that it would be louder with so many people in one building but everyone is always busy doing multiple tasks in their in the office. In my opinion the office is where you handle the important business. All aspects of your work are important but in the office is where you come after being out in the community doing whatever it is you do. This where paperwork is done; plans are getting made getting put into action. When I’m not in the office I am out doing home visits. I have learned how to properly do a home visit with a client from the documentation to the appropriate way to conduct yourself and language you use when dealing with clients, staff members, and the community.

I learned that I do enjoy doing case management at first I was nervous about having my own group of clients for the first time and I thought it would be much more difficult with all the paperwork you have to do and keep up with. After doing this for two months now I can say that paying attention and having confidence in yourself will help you out a lot with any position you are doing.
Being that this is a non-profit organization I have learned much about how non-profits go as well. At first, I didn’t know the importance of funding and grants. These grants are what help the agency to be able to help the community. Of course, there are certain criteria that the agency is required to do but that is all beneficial to them and the community they are serving. I see now that participation can sometimes play a big part in grants meeting numbers and expectations show how the agency is actually benefiting from it and if the grant is worth keeping. Partnerships also help non-profits out because both businesses can benefit from the partnership by helping each other with whatever goals they want to meet. The multiple partnership meetings I have attended as demonstrated all of this. The government and its changing can also affect many non-profits as well so non-profits have to keep up with the government system to know what’s going on. Sometimes actions of the government can result in non-profits having less funding which can mean fewer dollars in charitable giving can stop them from meeting community needs as much as they use to. The less money collected by federal income taxes can stop certain programs and services that nonprofits provide.

Overall I have learned so much about different parts of this internship from the agency, clients, and community around me. With that being said I have learned more about myself and how I will use all this information to make an impact on my career. Case management is an interesting career in social work that I can see myself doing in the future.





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