Current Position: Social Worker, Buckingham Valley Nursing and Rehab
Story posted: Spring 2021 Job title updated: Fall 2022
Brian Irwin always wanted to pursue a helping profession. Soon, he’ll be ready for the workforce having already earned his master of social work degree. GMercyU’s Social Work program makes students eligible for advanced standing in CSWE master degree programs, so they can complete their MSW degree in just one year instead of two.
As a result, Brian will graduate in May 2021 with his MSW degree from Widener University, one year after earning his BSW degree from GMercyU. “When I graduate I hope to work in the medical field as a medical social worker,” Brian said. “I also plan to obtain my license to become a licensed social worker (LSW). GMercyU’s BSW program prepared me so much for my master’s degree schooling, especially my Human Behavior & Social Environment course — it informed me on people’s behaviors in specific environments, which is very important in this field. I also really enjoyed working with Dr. Luquet in general and even got to propose a grant.”
It was Brian’s field experience (a requirement of all GMercyU Social Work majors) that inspired him to continue his education. At his field placement, he worked with clients who were struggling with substance abuse.
With this population, I ran support groups, conducted biophyschosocial assessments, and gained more education on this specific population. It was such a great experience.
What he loved most about GMercyU’s BSW program, however, was his relationship with his classmates. While he found the GMercyU Social Work program challenging, he said the professors created a learning environment where students felt comfortable expressing themselves and as a result, came to the classroom with a positive attitude, ready to tackle the material. Professors made sure students understood the material before moving forward.
That healthy learning environment is one of the reasons he chose GMercyU years ago.
“I knew I would be able to engage with the professors more than any other school. The ratio of professors to students is phenomenal, it creates a healthy environment for students to form great student-professor relationships,” he said. “If you are looking for a place to be thoroughly taught, and not just lectured, GMercyU is for you. Go Griffins!”
**Since this story was posted, Brian earned his MSW and now works at Buckingham Valley Nursing and Rehab. He also makes time to volunteer at a Catholic Church in Norristown, Pa, where he distributes food to the homeless and helps advocate for student loan debt relief.