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Nancy White May 30, 2012

When Paperwork Gets in the Way of Helping!

Don’t we all have those days when we feel overwhelmed by paperwork! Consumers need assistance whether in jail or having just re-entered the community and we are bogged down by paperwork. Sometimes it even feels like nobody cares how well the consumer is functioning; they just care how well we document the records.

Oops, I am pretty transparent and you can tell what I am facing in the near future. Whether we are counselors in the jail, prison, juvenile facility or community we are all faced with audits dependent upon our funding sources or other standards. Audit preparation takes time whether it is a planned or surprise audit. I am lucky! I get both kinds of audits annually.

The theory would be that if you are keeping up with your documentation and records it would not matter when an auditor comes. I wish that were true! Have you ever found that to be true? Audits take time and audits are stressful. You lose sleep prior to audits and sometimes eating habits take a plunge into overeating sugar and fatty foods. You know, those comfort foods that really made you feel sick after consumption!

You would think that being a counselor and knowing all of this, you could take measures to prevent these things from happening to you. You counsel your clients on how to deal with stress. Can you imagine how stressful it must be, to the client with mental illness, leaving the jail and trying to make it on their own? Very stressful, and here we are allowing ourselves to experience the same kind of stress that we work with our clients to try to avoid.

I’m sorry if it sounds like I am complaining. I love my job. Just don’t take my potato chips, peanuts, candy, and soda pop away from me for the next couple of weeks and I promise that I will make it through this audit too. Then for the next year, we will provide our consumers with the best possible services, helping them to live productively in the community.

Nancy White is a counselor who has spent much of her professional life working in corrections.

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