Throughout the online Masters of Social Work program, I have strengthened my research skills. The classes require scholarly articles to be cited in discussion posts and papers. By this point in the program, I can find a relevant article with ease. The process was difficult at first. Now I can usually tell just by looking at the title if it is applicable.
Researching is a great skill to have in the workforce. I have been assigned problems without knowing how to address it. Being able to research answers has been useful. I'm doing some individual therapy right now with a client. I was able to research ways to best address his issues and provide him the help needed. Research is a vital skill that will never go away since information is always evolving.
The online MSW program has improved my teamwork skills. Many assignments are done in groups. Since the courses are online, team members are in various time zones. This, along with colliding schedules, makes meeting as a group extremely difficult. Yet, in each group, we were able to plan out the who, what, and when of each assignment. Meeting the deadline took coordinated effort, but everyone would pull their weight to finish in time.
Social workers are team players with other coworkers and with client’s families. There is no way of escaping the responsibility of being a team player. Our Lady of the Lake University prepares students through group assignments. The work assignment may be a paper, video, presentation, or even a study guide, yet each team assignment prepares us for the real world.
Meeting deadlines is crucial for the job market. Even deadlines at work are dependent upon teams. As a medical social worker, I often had to coordinate my responsibilities with nurses, doctors, and therapists. If one of them was late completing their part, it was difficult to finish discharging patients in time. During one of my group projects, a team member knew they were going to be busy so she did her portion ahead of time. This gave other group members ample time to complete the assignment without hiccups.
Public Speaking and Writing Skills
Two other skills worth noting that the MSW program has helped me sharpen are public speaking and writing. Though it seems an online program would provide limited experience with public speaking, there are actually ample opportunities to record videos. Doing oral presentations and then reviewing the video showed me ways I could improve.
Writing is a constant. I've found that it is needed at work, however, so I am glad for the chance to improve. Social workers tend to chart notes on a daily basis, and many of these notes have to be clear to others who work with the client.
Overall, the online Masters of Social Work degree from Our Lady of the Lake University has improved my overall job skills. Researching, teamwork, meeting deadlines, public speaking, and writing are all soft skills needed to be successful in the workforce. Along with the practical skills from the courses, these things make this the ideal graduate program.