Welcome to our online peer support community. Connect with others making change in their alcohol and other drug use. Join our online community today.
  • Connect, be inspired, motivate others. Share your experience & strategies.
  • Safe. Anonymous. Professionally moderated. Free of judgement.
  • Questions for other peer workers

    This is a space visited by peer workers who have a lived experience of addiction and recovery and is an opportunity to relate to and draw hope from those who have been through similar things as you.
    Judas
    Member
    Posts: 57
    Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 10:47 am

    Questions for other peer workers

    Tue Aug 30, 2022 3:49 pm

    Hi peer workers,

    As I have previously mentioned in another post, I am also working as a peer worker, however in my organisation we are going with the term "support workers". I have only been working in this role since February and when I stepped into the position it was a brand new role so the past 6 months has been about setting up the peer support services and working out what we are going to be doing. I was hoping to get some insight from some people that work in a similar role about a few things.

    - What does your day-to-day look like?
    - What are your responsibilities as a peer worker?
    - How many hours per week do you work as a peer worker?
    - And what is the best & worst thing about your job?

    Thanks guys, looking forward to hearing a bit more about what your role looks like. :D
    1 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 692
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Questions for other peer workers

    Wed Sep 07, 2022 9:54 pm

    This is such a great post @Judas and these are some great questions.

    Though my main job now is in Lived Experience Workforce capacity building and support, I did work as a peer worker for a couple of years and thought I would have a crack at some of these questions you had.

    The day to day was so incredibly varied. I worked across multiple sites and in a few different settings from an inpatient detox/stabilisation to a walk in clinic for intake & assessment to facilitating SMART Recovery Groups for forensic clients and in the role I was in, like with most peer roles there was a real teething process. In my experience it's so common in peer roles to have an initial PD and a few months down the track the actual day to day of the role is completely different. Organisations will often need to go through a process of discovering how best practice peer work will look in their setting as it looks a little bit different everywhere. Within this, my responsibilities changed a lot as well as it was decided what the peer role would hold and what the scope was as it progressed, in a kind of trial and error process. My hours changed a lot too, beginning 3 days a week and ending up full time.

    My favourite thing about working in the peer space has always been that it is a very unique and empowering opportunity for something that I always viewed as a negative part of my past to be come such an asset. And it becomes more of an asset as time goes on and the recognition of the value of lived experience continues to grow and progress.

    The most challenging thing about it is the stigma attached to being in a role where you're open about having lived experience. I have learnt over time that stigma, most of the time comes from a lack of understanding as opposed to a place of malicious intent. It's with this discovery that I simply treat moments of facing stigma as opportunities to educate and increase understanding.

    I would love to hear what other peoples takes are on this and if any other peer workers who are on the forums such as @PnorkelPW would like to share any of their experiences working in this wonderful discipline that we do :D
    1 x
    Judas
    Member
    Posts: 57
    Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2022 10:47 am

    Re: Questions for other peer workers

    Tue Oct 11, 2022 4:06 pm

    Thanks so much for your reply @ScorpionPW. I'm happy to share some of my answers too.

    At the start of everyday I check my emails. Reply to anything urgent and then flag anything else important that I plan to come back to during the day. Then I write out my list of things which I want to achieve that day. Similarly to what you mentioned, I also work across a range of sites, so my activities for the day may look different depending on where I am working for that day. Some days I am working with the Drug and Alcohol research team to help give a consumer representation to their research trials. So I might be reading their draft protocols, meeting some of their participants, asking people to fill out surveys, making up packages of NRT for people, calling people to arrange for follow-up appointments etc. I also work at a detox facility too some days. In which case I sit in for handover between the doctors and nurses. Then I usually introduce myself to the patients. Have a chat to the staff. When they bring lunch up for the patients, I use that as an opportunity to properly introduce myself to anyone that I might have missed in the morning and spark up a bit of a group conversation about some of the things that have helped me in the past to remain abstinent. I offer to speak to anybody one-on-one if they wish. I give the ping-pong table a clean and then offer to play ping-pong with the patients. Then I might watch a bit of TV with them. If I'm in the office for the day then I might do some research, ask the services if they have any clients they'd like me to meet, watch a webinar or educational video or read up a bit on my book, participate in clinical reviews and intake meetings.

    As far as responsibilities go, they are still relatively few for me in this position so far. I mean there is the obvious need for privacy and confidentiality etc. I also go to the detox at least one a month so that's a bit of a responsibility we all share to offer that service to the patients there. Apart from that I am pretty self-directed in the work that I can do. There isn't much work where it's like, I must do THIS or THAT by such deadline.

    Currently I work 2-3 days a week. So up to 24 hours a week, but usually a bit less than that because I have two jobs and it's difficult to juggle them both at the same time sometimes.

    The best thing about the job so far is getting to help people and offer them advice based on what has helped me in the past. The worst thing is most days are pretty slow by the afternoon. I have to be proactive about finding things to do. I wish more people would come to me for things but I feel most people that work here still undervalue my experience and what I can bring to the table.

    Thanks, I'm definitely keen to hear from any more peer / support workers about what their role is like if they'd like to share.
    0 x
    ScorpionPW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 692
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Questions for other peer workers

    Wed Oct 12, 2022 10:11 pm

    It sounds like such a fantastic and diverse role you're in @Judas, thanks so much for sharing that with us :D

    What state are you working in if you don't mind me asking? And how long have you been in the role?
    0 x

    Return to “Peers for Peers: A space for connecting to others and our peer workers”