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Interview Paper
SW 3010


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Section 1
Trying to find an individual with a BSW whom I could interview proved to be a bit more
difficult than one may expect given that I live in a rather small town and there is not a large
variety of agencies. I called about three to four different agencies and was transferred numerous
times before finally reaching the voicemail of the supervisor, where I then left a message
explaining that I was a BSW student looking for an opportunity to interview someone working
with a BSW. I finally received a call back a few days later and was able to schedule the
It was rather difficult to ask a stranger for help and also have to rely on that stranger to
respond to my request. Knowing that I could not begin this assignment until I gained preapproval and that I needed to receive a call back before I could gain pre-approval made me very
anxious. I feel that a consumer may also feel very anxious when attempting to contact a worker
for help and waiting for a response back just as I felt while waiting for a call back for an
interview opportunity. Consumers may also experience difficulty when finding that they need to
ask a stranger for help as they do not know the person and cannot be sure how they will react to
their request.
Section 2
I conducted my interview with Theresa Windham, who is a BSW worker at Allegiance
Health. Theresa graduated from Spring Arbor University in 2008 with her Bachelor of Social
Work degree and mentioned during our interview that she is planning to return to Spring Arbor
this fall to also pursue her Master of Social Work degree. As I mentioned, Theresa currently
works at Allegiance Health as an intake/referral specialist. Theresa works in the access center at
the hospital, taking intake calls and referring individuals to a psychiatrist or social worker if there
is a perceived need. Theresa explained that she answers calls to the access center and typically
spends approximately fifteen to twenty minutes on the phone with the prospective patient, asking


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questions and assessing their need so that the appropriate next steps can be taken. In this
position, Theresa assesses the needs of the patient and then sends the information to the
outpatient office so that an appointment can be made with a psychiatrist or other worker if
necessary. Theresa also works in the emergency room at the hospital, dealing with patients
coming into the ER who may need to see a social worker, such as those who may have attempted
suicide or individuals suffering from dementia for example. While I was interviewing Theresa
about her experience working in these positions as the hospital she also mentioned that she has
been privileged with the experience of working with many other agencies throughout the city of
Jackson as well. Theresa described her current client population the hospital as mentally ill,
mentioning that they often see patients with a variety of mental disorders. Some examples of the
social problems and concerns that are addressed in this agency, according to Theresa, include
suicidal thoughts/attempts, paranoia, schizophrenia, dementia, substance abuse, and also
When I asked how Theresa would evaluate her effectiveness within this agency, she
responding by saying that she must be doing something right, as she has been there for four years
currently and has also had positions created specifically for her. She mentioned that the position
she currently holds in the emergency room at Allegiance Hospital was created two years ago
because of her. She had been working with the hospital for two years at the time and they
believed that she could be an asset to the emergency room and thus created this position with her
in mind. Theresa also mentions that although she only recently graduated with her BSW in 2008,
she has over ten years of experience working with social work agencies. She mentioned that she
has also done work with Catholic Charities and Highlands, as well as the Youth Center, where
she did her BSW internship and spent some extra time working after completion of the


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internship. Theresa feels that this vast amount of experience has led her to be incredibly effective
in the position she currently holds at the hospital.
Theresa also stated that she believes that Allegiance as an agency is doing well. She
mentioned that they do currently have an inpatient and outpatient center for adults, as well as a
geriatric unit. The hospital does not; however, have an adolescent unit currently and must call
other hospitals to refer out adolescents who may come through Allegiance. Other than this
Theresa feels that the agency is very effective, having recently increased the number of
therapists available in an attempt to cut down wait times, as well as operating another counseling
unit aside from the hospital that is available for individuals to follow up with therapists after
leaving the hospitals inpatient and/or outpatient programs. According to Theresa, only
individuals with private insurance are covered to come back to the hospitals counseling centers
for follow up counseling; however, the numbers of those coming back are still significantly high.
Due to the inability to use state funded insurance to return for counseling services, Theresa stated
that she is unsure about the effectiveness of many individuals once they are released from
hospital programs. These individuals are referred to Lifeways to continue counseling as this
agency accepts state funded insurance. This was the only weakness in the agency that Theresa
seemed to have a concern about.
Theresa and I also discussed the micro, mezzo, and macro practices that are present in
this agency. She mentioned that Allegiance Health as an organization is involved in a great deal
of community outreach, which she discussed as their macro level work. Theresa seemed to be
most pleased with this level of work as it is what she focused on most during this part of our
discussion. Specific to the behavioral health unit at Allegiance, she also mentioned a great deal
of outreach services. Some of these included working with the Red Cross to help assist victims
of house fires or natural disasters, going to schools to assist victims of school shootings, as well


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as going to schools where faculty member may have just passed away and working with children
and other faculty to help them work through the loss. Theresa mentioned that Allegiance does all
of these tasks at no cost, in an attempt to assist those in our own community who may be facing
problems and would not be able to afford the help they need. While Theresa seemed to be very
pleased with the community outreach done by Allegiance, we did also discuss some practices
happening at the micro and mezzo levels within this agency. According to Theresa, the main
micro level services in this agency are the one on one counseling sessions with social workers.
She did also mention the appointments that clients take part in with psychiatrists as well as the
discussions that prospective clients have with access center workers such as Theresa when
partaking in intake calls. At the mezzo level, Theresa discussed the inpatient, outpatient, and
partial hospitalization programs available at the hospital. These programs typically are done in a
group setting with an occasional one on one with a social worker if needed. Allegiance also has
other facilities including an Addiction Recovery Center and Substance Abuse Services that
Theresa mentioned as well. The last thing that we discussed at the mezzo level was the support
group offered for family and patients who may be seeing a social worker at the hospital, or have
seen one in the past. Overall, it seems that Allegiance effectively offers services at all three
levels: micro, mezzo, and macro.
Section 3
Overall, I felt the interview went very well. I enjoyed hearing about Theresas
experiences in the field of social work as well as discussing her job with her. This interview also
helped me to realize that it is possible to find interesting jobs that I would feel satisfied with
taking part in as a BSW. I still have a desire to gain my MSW, but this interview gave me more
hope that if I chose to take time off before pursuing my MSW, I would still be likely to find work
that would be gratifying and enjoyable to me. At the beginning of the interview, I found it a little


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difficult to begin engagement with Theresa, but once we began talking I found the information
she was providing quite interesting, and it further advanced my excitement to begin my career in
social work. I also greatly enjoyed hearing about the agency and the work that they do. I feel that
the agency is incredibly effective with the work they do and it is fantastic to know that it is a part
of my community and strives to help those close to home.


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Works Cited
Windham, T. (2014, January 15). Personal interview conducted by T Rolston. Allegiance Health,
Jackson, MI.