A lifetime of helping others
EVEN though Fran McGrath has recently been named WA’s 2015 Social Worker of the Year, she said she was still learning from her clients about their shared humanity.
The Neurosciences Unit social worker at Graylands Hospital also won the Head, Heart and Hands award, which recognises her lifetime achievements as an outstanding social worker.
Mrs McGrath said she felt the awards were an honour and validation of her life's work.
“I decided to become a social worker when aged about 24 after a few years of teaching at high school in Adelaide,” she said.
“I taught both academically gifted children and others who presented with significant behavioural problems.
“It was in working with the latter that I came to understand that a person’s context or history was so important and that social work would enable me to work with people in a different way.”
Mrs McGrath has worked as a senior social worker at Graylands Hospital for more than 23 years.
She said her work had not only helped the lives of others, but enriched her own by marrying her three main passions of social justice, psychology and spirituality.
“I have found my work so rewarding and never thought of doing anything else,” Mrs McGrath said.
“There is not much separation between who I am and what I do, which is very satisfying.”
Princess Margaret Hospital social worker Kat Broad won the Rising Star award and WA Health Alcohol and Other Drugs counsellor Leanne Mirrabella won the Agent of Change award.
Department for Child Protection and Family Support director-general Emma White, winner Fran McGrath, Social Worker of the Year patron Jan Stewart and Mental Health Minister Helen Morton.