“There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping and empowering people to make a positive difference in their lives.”
Our Adult Social Care service now offer a return to practice programme for Social Workers and Occupational Therapists. We caught up with Ramona Budisan, Social Worker in our Sedgemoor and West Somerset team, to hear about her return to practice journey.
Why did you decide you wanted to return to practice?
I think there’s nothing more fulfilling than helping and empowering people to make a positive difference in their lives. I was born in Romania, where I qualified as a Social Worker in 2008. I came to the UK at the end of 2014 to visit friends who lived in Somerset. I fell in love with the country and decided to move here. It’s been a challenging time for me due to my limited English. Working as a Social Worker in the UK seemed an impossible dream but my passion and determination proved more powerful.
Outline the structure you followed to allow you to become familiar with practice again?
Before working for Somerset County Council, I undertook the ‘updating’ required by HCPC. This involved studying at Bridgwater and Taunton College and reading case studies, legislation, research and articles about social work. I volunteered for Somerset You Can Do Services and Route1 Advocacy & Independent Visitors, which helped me understand the boundaries and the legislation we work with. I then applied for my Social Work registration with HCPC, which I successfully obtained in January 2017.
Prior to starting my journey with Somerset County Council, I worked in Adult Social Care for a few private companies. The knowledge and experience I gained helped me to work my way up and gave me the confidence to apply for a position at Somerset County Council. I completed a six-month programme where I was able to demonstrate my aptitude for working within The Professional Capabilities Framework, which enabled me to apply for a Social Worker position. I was successful at my interview and, in December 2018, was offered a Social Worker role.
How did your team and manager support you through your journey?
I joined The Sedgemoor and West Somerset Team in June 2018 and I feel blessed for being part of a supportive and caring team. I remember my first days in the office, shadowing my colleagues whilst trying to find my place. Questions like: “What are you doing here, Ramona? Do you know what you’re getting into?” bounced in my head with the thought that I will never be able to do such a “challenging job”. As the days passed, everything became clearer and more meaningful.
I don’t have enough words to describe my team. They’re always there when I needed them. I want to say a big “thank you!” to my supervisor, a special person who believed in me and contributed to my progress and development. The rest of the team have always helped me through challenging situations in my work life.
Somerset County Council promotes and encourages regular supervision, which is extremely beneficial. However, what I love the most is that you feel supported in “rough times”. In lunch breaks and in between the phone calls or typing, you have someone to advise you, provide reassurance when you feel vulnerable, or praise your work. It makes a HUGE difference.
Finally, any advice to for anyone thinking of applying for the return to work programme?
Go for it. It’s the greatest emotional reward you can get! It gives you the opportunity to make positive changes and discover your strengths and weaknesses. It will teach you how to cope in stressful situations, whilst building up your confidence. Although you won’t always be appreciated, you will be the person who made a positive difference to someone’s life, helped them to reach their goals, and ensured their safety and wellbeing.
Ramona Budisan, Social Worker