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Jun 20

It's OK to be different….if it works

Posted: 30 June 2020

In the second of his blogs imagining what adult social care will look like post virus our Head of Workforce Innovation Jim Thomas imagines a new universe where it’s ok to be different….as long as it works for those who access care and support servies.

Scientists know that light travels in straight lines in a vacuum. However, when light cannot penetrate an object, it gets reflected back and when a light travels inside a medium, it bends or gets refracted.

Guidance is similar to light. We think it’s travelling across the social care universe in straight lines, but it can take a long time to reach its destination. Along the way it can get refracted and head off in many different directions. You can’t always be sure where it has come from or where it is going.

Comets have a lot in common with health care and its relationship with social care. Most of us can name a few comets. We know they fly around our solar system and appear every so often in the social care sky. When they appear, we all get very excited and then they disappear.

Dark matter accounts for about 85% of the matter in the universe. In the social care universe it is the stuff that binds us all together, that we can’t see, but we all know is there: it’s rights, values, and a commitment to social justice.

The beauty of our solar system, the universe, social care and the social care workforce is their complexity, diversity and ability to be and mean so many different things all at the same time. There’s room for conflict, convergence, collaboration and connectivity.

The basic building blocks of social care and why people choose to work in social care don’t differ much. Many of those who work in social care associate themselves with a particular part of social care, work only in that part of social care and wouldn’t move to a different planet – and it is completely OK.

A career in social care isn’t necessarily about progression, changing your role, or increasing your status. It can be about doing the same job, for a long time, with the same group of people and being a long-term feature in someone’s life. Our colleagues in other systems may well find this perspective on a career strange. However, it’s one of the many things that makes social care such an interesting universe to explore.

In a parallel universe, social care might not exist. Local communities might have developed support systems that mean there is no requirement for a social care service. People are valued and respected, regardless of how much support they need to live as independently as possible. But that is not the universe we inhabit. In our social care universe the need to say what makes social care different from health care is as important as it ever was.

There are many strange new parts of social care left to explore. New worlds and new models of care and support. For those of us who work in social care, experience social care support or interconnect with the social care workforce we need to continue boldly going in many different directions at the same time. Our warp drive is our passion, our belief and our love of people.

The next time someone suggests you or a colleague come from a different planet, there might be more truth in what they say than you imagine. Don’t panic, It’s OK to be different.