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How COVID-19 Has Impacted My Organization on Social Workers


This paper aims to present how coronavirus has changed perception of the general population on social workers, as well its general impact on social work practice. Discussed is an insight into how social work was before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (covid19). The paper will focus on the different impacts of covid19 on social work organizations and individuals’ health. Social work is a practice-based profession focused on promoting social change and developing people and communities. The career entails being in close contact with the people with the aim of supporting them. Social workers help individuals solve and cope with their everyday lives and help treat licensed mental health illnesses.


Different types of social workers handle different groups of people while offering them services. A child and family social worker is tasked with protecting vulnerable children and families in need of assistance. School social workers cooperate with teachers, guardians, and school administration to help improve student academic performance and social development. Healthcare social workers help patients understand their diagnosis and make the necessary changes to adjust their lives to help manage the illness. Clinical social workers engage with addicts and clients with mental illness to help them cope with their predicament. This paper will focus on social workers and how the pandemic has impacted their practice.

Literature Review

Social work is a practice that has existed for a long time but has not been fully recognized. In Africa, the practice faces many challenges, one being the lack of an organization to help oversee the training and education of social workers (Mwansa, 2010). The practice is only recognized in major countries although the rate of employment of social workers is low. The novel coronavirus pandemic made the practice known and appreciated as it saw the National Association of Social Worker device guideline on covid-19 (NASW, 2020). In Ireland, the practice was essential in helping everyone cope with the pandemic (Ashcroft, Sur, Greenblatt & Donahue, 2021). Though essential, the details of the practice were less known to the general public.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses causing respiratory and intestinal illnesses to humans and animals. On December 31, 2019, World Health Organization received an alert from China on pneumonia cases with unknown etiology. Cases were primarily reported from people who lived or worked around seafood markets (Harapan et al., 2020). On January 7, 2020, coronavirus was detected by the World Health Organization from throat swabs of patients reported to have traveled from China. The pathogen causing symptoms was named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV- 2) and disease coronavirus or Covid-19.

Human coronavirus is divided into four subgroups: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The virus was identified in the mid1960s having seven variants that affect people (CDC, 2021). Viruses that infect people include 229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 with 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. At times the virus mutates from being infectious to an animal to humans, and these variants include nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV (CDC, 2021). The virus mutated to the current SARS-CoV-2 that has terrorized countries threatening populations.

Cases of the virus were reported to increase rapidly, making diagnosis difficult. China had 7736 confirmed cases with 12,167 suspected cases and 82 confirmed cases in other 18 countries (Harapan et al., 2020). WHO declared the Covind-19 virus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The virus origin was unclear and a mode of transmission, making it hard for social workers to trace contacts. The virus frequently adapted and changed, leading to confusion among health workers on how to manage its prevalence.

Social workers had to carry out follow-ups as the virus symptoms took time to appear and at times reoccurred. These symptoms include fever, dry cough, chest pain, fatigue, and myalgia (Harapan et al., 2020). Headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting were less common symptoms (Harapan et al., 2020). Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the infection and its progression. Severe complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), hypoxemia, arrhythmia, shock, cardiac injury, and kidney failure may present. These close symptoms follow-ups which nurses do not offer but social workers is vital for recovery.

The health care system was strained by the challenges that came along with the spread of the pandemic. Patients were dying on hospital beds, and there was congestion and lack of rest among the health care workers (Javed, Sarwer, Soto & Mashwani, 2020). Caregivers were under pressure and stress resulting from the workload and physical exhaustion. Social workers were constantly exposed to the virus, which affected their general health, impacting their service provision. Ashcroft et al. (2021) affirm that the covid-19 pandemic led to activities disruptions and workplaces closure. The virus affected males more than females, with high cases reported on adult males (Ashcroft, Sur, Greenblatt & Donahue, 2021). The virus led to increased instances of mental health illnesses, restrictions in traveling, and technological methods of conducting activities. The health sector was affected as caregivers were at risk of contracting the virus with the increased workload. The number of social workers did not match the demand for services. According to Ashcroft et al. (2021), social workers were called to help address the psycho-social crises that emerged from the pandemic. Social workers were in demand as the profession focuses on promoting change through the empowerment of communities.

The rapid progression of the covid-19 virus led to lockdowns and curfews to help stop and minimize the virus transmission. Measures include isolation, social distancing, closure of workplace, education institutes, and entertainment venues (Javed, Sarwer, Soto & Mashwani, 2020). According to Javed et al. (2020), covid-19 would cause mismanagement of other diseases leading to mental health issues as all resources control the virus spread. The measures were set to help stop the transmission of the virus and reduce social and mental health issues. As more people were forced to stay at home to help prevent the further spread of the pathogen, society came in need of mental health support.

According to Panchal et al. (2021),young adults reported anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms, a 56% increase from previous years (Panchal, Kamal, Cox & Garfield, 2021). Substance abuse among young adults increased from 13%to 25%, while suicidal thoughts rose from 11% to 26% (Panchal, Kamal, Cox & Garfield, 2021). The pandemic affected people’s mental health due to isolation, loss of jobs, and death of loved ones. People’s mental health became an issue as WHO noted that the crisis generated stress throughout populations (Panchal, Kamal, Cox & Garfield, 2021). As a result, the WHO department of mental health and substance abuse developed a series of messagesThe messages were set to offer support to the general population to help them cope with the crisis. The impact was adverse even to medical practitioners who had a lot of work and were exposed to the virus. The pandemic affected Children, the elderly, health workers and led to issues of stigmatization (Javed, Sarwer, Soto & Mashwani, 2020). Covid19 outbreak impacted the mental health of populations as it brought everything to a standstill.

Social work harnesses a range of skills that are of importance to the emerging needs of the pandemic. These skills include risk assessment, crisis management, problem-solving, therapy, and community mobilization, which are essential during contract tracing of patients. In Ireland, social workers had the role of looking after older people as well as families and groups affected by the covid19 crisis (Brennan, Reilly, Cuskelly & Donnelly, 2020). Social work was recognized as an essential service allowing its practice during the pandemic (Brennan, Reilly, Cuskelly & Donnelly, 2020). In Ireland, the population of the elderly is at 20%, making it a priority to look after them (Ashcroft, Sur, Greenblatt & Donahue, 2021). The old were at a disadvantage during the pandemic as it was easy for them to get infected with the virus.

The virtual methods of service provision telehealth were incorporated in service delivery. Changes in health care delivery changed with the adoption of telehealth technology (CDC, 2021). The use of telehealth was introduced to help reduce congestion and exposure to caregivers. Telehealth helped in patient tracking and consultation, revolutionizing the health sector. Social workers could reach everyone and remotely access them through telehealth technology.

Social workers were involved in matters relating to health, including representing the opinions of the communities they served. Social workers contact community members, making it easy for them to voice out the needs of community members (Ashcroft, Sur, Greenblatt & Donahue, 2021). Contact tracing was an issue, but after the involvement of social workers, it became easy to mobilize those who had been in contact with anyone who had the virus.

Social workers got involved in coming up with community safety guidelines needed in the community. Social work became a proactive activity during the pandemic, with social workers being engaged to help manage the cases. The pandemic resulted in guidelines to help manage reopening and resumption of activities. The National Association of Social Workers drafted guidelines instructing on what should be done when reopening social work practice (NASW, 2020). The guidelines were intended to guide how activities were conducted to help minimize the reoccurrence of cases. Social work benefited more from the pandemic as the practice got recognition with their association drafting guidelines for resumption of activities.


The year 2019 marked the beginning of an unplanned history as coronavirus or covid-19 was introduced to the world. It started as a superficial infection with symptoms mimicking fever but became a deadly disease whose impacts are still fresh. Covid-19 has impacted social work, causing adjustments and improvements.

The studies reveal that covid-19 led to the realization of social work practice which had been sidelined. There were mental health issues among populations with no support system to help them cope with circumstances. The sudden death, lockdowns, and closure of work premises affected each person as it was abrupt and unplanned. The need for a support system was high, resulting in the realization of social workers and their consequent employment. The effects of the pandemic were felt by everyone from children to the elderly resulting in the need for health workers to assist. The pandemic resulted in a lot of stigmatization towards people who had been isolated for testing positive for the virus (Javed, Sarwer, Soto & Mashwani, 2020). Children, adults, the elderly, and those with disabilities were not an exception, and the elderly were most at risk of contracting the virus. The increase in incidences and indirect effects of the general population’s mental health necessitated the skills of social workers.

The literature indicates that the social worker’s skills and knowledge became evident, and much sorted after, during the coronavirus pandemic. Social workers have a range of essential skills in emergencies, such as the covid19 pandemic. These skills include risk assessment, crisis management, advanced care planning, therapy, problem-solving, and community mobilization (Ashcroft, Sur, Greenblatt & Donahue, 2021). The demand for these skills was high, increasing the need to help track and manage virus transmission. Covid-19, despite being ruthless, was of great importance to social workers as they became recognized and much sorted after. During the pandemic, social workers advised organizations on formulation process concerning social determinants of health. Their expertise helped introduce and adherence to personal protective equipment by the general public.

It is evident from the literature that the pandemic resulted in an increased number of employed social workers as their demand was high. In Ireland, social workers were primarily found in the private sector caring for older people’s mental health. As mental health issues rose, the pandemic expanded from more seniors to the general public (Brennan, Reilly, Cuskelly & Donnelly, 2020). They were tasked with the management and contact tracing of individuals reported to have shown signs of the virus. The pandemic led to changes in the social work field as they became recognized, leading to most of them being employed. In Ireland, social work is deemed an essential service, and the social workers continue their jobs (Brennan, Reilly, Cuskelly & Donnelly, 2020).With their role becoming evident in the pandemic, so is their demand .

Safety of the social worker has been impacted positively by the technology introduced during the pandemic. The need to protect the health of the social workers in the fight against the pandemic was clear, and thus their importance and value became a priority. The Face-to-face service delivery was only for those with severe symptoms and complications, while others had to use online methods (Brennan, Reilly, Cuskelly & Donnelly, 2020). These led to the use telehealth and its expansion to accommodate essential health services. The use of telehealth was extensively incorporated in the health sector to help minimize contact among caregivers and patients. Health care systems had to adjust how they were conducting their activities to adopting telehealth medicine. Telehealth medicine encompassed the use of phones, tablets, or computers to offer medical services to protect both caregiver and patient (CDC, 2021). Telehealth services help facilitate public health mitigation strategies such as ensuring social distance. The introduction and use of telehealth were beneficial to the organization as they increased the area covered by the social workers while reducing the chances of contracting the disease.

The area covered and the number of people receiving care from social workers was increased courtesy of the technology incorporated during the pandemic. Telehealth offers remote patient monitoring as patients can be treated wherever possible, minimizing facility congestion (CDC, 2021). Other than a patient being able to access health care services from where they are, it also reduces PPE use by health care providers. Telehealth enabled remote access to health, making it possible for everyone to access it, revolutionizing healthcare delivery, and protecting social workers. The technology is only accessible to smartphones, tablets, or computers, increasing the scope of delivery of services (CDC, 2021). Service provision is accessible now a click away, this has enhanced social work and increased their scope of service delivery.

The pandemic further elaborated the roles of the social workers in legislation as the government engaged them in policymaking to combat the spread of the disease. The National Association of Social Workers was involved in policy formulations to help manage the pandemic. National Association of Social Workers drafted guidelines directing the reopening of activities (NASW, 2020). Covid-19 helped establish the social worker’s association as social workers were recognized. The pandemic helped establish my organization through acknowledgment of the practice. Following the development of the covid19, vaccine cases have been reducing, and countries are opening up their borders. Measures to help combat the spread of the virus are being revised to help transition to normal routines (NASW, 2020). The resumption of activities are guided by rules shared to ensure that the public health protocols were followed to help reduce reoccurrence.


The covid19 pandemic has and is still a nightmare . The pandemic brought nations to a standstill with constant deaths, a decline in the economy, and no options other than watching their downfall. Though the pandemic disrupted many activities, it also improved health care service delivery with telehealth. As countries are opening up their borders and activities are returning to normal, it is essential to adhere to guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.Covid-19 pandemic impacted social work practice having a positive influence on my organization. Professionally it has promoted the social work profession, with the practice being recognized and appreciated by everyone. Social work has been recognized, and measures are in place to help spearhead its realization fully impacting the job market positively. Service provision has changed with the adoption of telehealth to help enhance service provision and acquisition by everyone. Social workers are respected and viewed as health care practitioners giving prestige to the organization and practice.


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Ashcroft, R., Sur, D., Greenblatt, A., & Donahue, P. (2021). The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Social Workers at the Frontline: A Survey of Canadian Social Workers. The British Journal Of Social Work. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcab158

Brennan, J., Reilly, P., Cuskelly, K., & Donnelly, S. (2020). Social work, mental health, older people, and COVID-19. International Psychogeriatrics32(10), 1205-1209. doi: 10.1017/s1041610220000873

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Javed, B., Sarwer, A., Soto, E., & Mashwani, Z. (2020). The coronavirus ( COVID ‐19) pandemic’s impact on mental health. The International Journal Of Health Planning And Management35(5), 993-996. doi: 10.1002/hpm.3008

Mwansa, L., 2010. Challenges facing social work education in Africa. International Social Work, 53(1), pp.129-136.


Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Cox, C., & Garfield, R. (2021). The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from


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