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Erika Mascia’s Journey as a Social Worker

Erika Mascia’s Journey as a Social Worker

Mar. 30th, 2024

Social workers help people in healthcare by acting as their advocate and providing comfort to them. In addition to the healthcare industry, social workers are employed in human services, schools, and welfare. Saber’s affiliated communities employ social workers to help the residents in the communities they serve.

March is Social Work Month, and to celebrate, we recently interviewed Erika Mascia, Director of Social Services at Harmon House Health & Rehab Center, to learn more about her background and why social workers play an important role in the healthcare industry.

Tell us about your background.

“I began my career in long term care after high school as a CNA. I worked at Harmon House’s former Adult Day Care Center. Later on, my administrator told me about a Life Enrichment job opportunity that she thought I would be a great fit for. I really enjoyed it and got my activities director certificate. After I had been working in Life Enrichment for a while, the social services position became available. My managers saw the potential in me and offered me the social worker job permanently.”

How did you first learn about social work and decide to go into this field?

“I had a strong foundation and education in psychology from my college courses. In 2017, I decided to go back to school to get a Masters of Psychology with a direction in nursing homes and counseling. After I got my Masters, I helped our social worker with the day-to-day tasks for the residents. With that experience, I learned about and appreciated the field of social services.”

What does a social worker do on a typical day?

“On the day-to-day side, we answer questions from the residents and their families and make sure the residents have what they need. In addition, we do main assessments for main admissions new residents and quarterly assessments for long-term residents. We also assist with the resident’s discharge by making sure they have the necessary medication, equipment, and follow-up appointments scheduled. After a resident has been discharged, we have a follow-up phone calls with our former residents to make sure everything is going well, and they have what they need.”

 What qualifications do you need to work in social work?

 “The main thing you need is a bachelor’s degree in social work or services. I highly recommend having a background in psychology. It will help strengthen your skillset and grow your understanding of social work. It’s also important to gain experience in the industry you are looking to work in.”

What opportunities are in the field for social workers?

“There’s a lot of different things social workers can do. You can work with those who have substance abuse problems, children in school, early intervention settings, long term care and hospital settings. A new opportunity in the social work field is telehealth.”

What skills or traits do you believe are necessary for a social worker to be successful?

“The major trait you need is empathy. You need to care about people and care about their wellbeing in order to be successful. At the end of the day, you need to have a passion to help others.”

What is your favorite part about your role?

“My favorite part is that I get to be an advocate for our residents. I am able to spend a lot of time with the residents, and address their feelings and concerns. A lot of them are losing their home and independence, so I am happy to be there for them and help them with the transition.”

Any advice for aspiring social workers?

“What helped me was doing as much volunteer work as I could. When I was little, I passed out blankets to those in local nursing homes with my grandma. The more experience, exposure, and knowledge you have in the setting you want to work in is key. Also, helping people and understanding the ins and outs of social work is important.”

Anything to add?

“My last piece of advice is to be there as best as you can for the people that you serve.”

Saber Healthcare

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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.