Tracking Trainings Using Dafts and Launch Center Pro

 Track Trainings for CEUs and Clock Hours using Drafts 4 & Launch Center Pro

Track Trainings for CEUs and Clock Hours using Drafts 4 & Launch Center Pro

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some times further diving into Drafts and Launch Center Pro. Both are amazing applications for iOS, and have greatly improved my productivity and ability to get things done. I have been absolutely loving my Milage Tracker that I put together, and use it multiple times a day (and find that it makes it so I don't forget to track). As I have written before, I'm a big fan of using plain text files and Markdown.

Several years ago, when I started working at Tri-Cities Community Health Behavioral Health Services, and attending various trainings post MSW I started keeping a word document listing all of the various trainings that I attend. If you work in an industry that requires documentation regarding trainings received, hopefully you have started doing that too. I since have change my system around. I now have a plain text file that I keep on dropbox which has a listing of every training that I have received (whether that be in agency or for some sort of professional development certificate). As I have been looking towards applying for my LICSW and having my ESA which requires so many clock hours, I decided that I wanted to also have an easy way to calculate how many CEU's or Clock Hours without combing through my long text file of all my trainings. I created two CSV files which I could open in Excel or Numbers and have calculate the total number of hours easily. The problem is, I didn't want to have to write entries sometimes three times. I also wanted to be able to add these entries either from my phone or from my iPad easily when I get to the training. Never having to worry about it again.

With so many iOS automation tasks that I do, it starts in Launch Center Pro (LCP) for me. I have a main entry that collects data in several prompts (you can install it). The content is as follows:

launch://x-callback-url/clipboard?text=[prompt:Review=[prompt:Date], [prompt:Training Title], [prompt-num:Number of CEUs or Clock Hours] [list:Type|Clock Hours=Clock Hours|CEUs=CEUs|Both=Clock Hours and CEUs], [list:Type of Units|Ethics= Professional Law and Ethics|Suicide=Suicide Assessment Treatment and Management|General=General Continuing Education Credits|None=|ESA Suicide=ESA Suicide Prevention Intervention Training]]

It creates a final review prompt that includes text regarding the training date, the title of the training, the number of hours, and the type of hours (i.e. Professional Law and Ethics or Suicide Assessment Treatment and Management).

I have this LCP action in my "base" actions folder along with a couple of different actions related to my trainings. All of them send the contents to Drafts for different actions. One action posts the clipboard to an action that appends it to my Clock Hour CSV, one to my CEU CSV, and one to my text file. I then have a main action that calls all of the other actions and let me select if I want to post it to one, two or all three of the actions.

The two actions that I have which append to my Clock Hour CSV and my CEU CSV files are very simple and just append to the files. There are two actions to append to my overall text file. One action takes the comma separated data and uses some JavaScript to split the text at each ", " and return the text with each section as a new line. You can install the drafts action or see the JavaScript below:

// Function to Parse Comma Separated Value Text
// Jacob Campbell -- http://jacobrcampbell.com/

function parseText(s){
    var temp = new Array();
    temp = s.split(', ');
      var result = "";
      var i;
    for(i=0; i<temp.length; i++) {
        result += temp[i] + "\n";
    }
return result;
}

// Commit content to draft

var text = draft.content;
draft.content = parseText(text);
commit(draft);

The drafts action then passes that data to another action which takes those new lines and adds it to a template page that has the following information:

## [[line|2]]
* __Date__: [[line|1]]  
* __Location__:   
* __Facilitator__:   
* __CEU / Clock Hours__: [[line|3]], [[line|4]]  
* __Duration__:   
* __Certificate of Completion__:   

Each of the the parts that say [[line|n]] takes that line from the draft and puts it there. I then add the last little bit of information (i.e. location, who facilitated it... etc) and I'm all done.

What is amazing, is I can write it once in LCP, have it post to both CSV files and then prepare it for posting it to my text file with only typing minimal text. I have taken it to another level, and have made some OmniFocus task templates that I can post and remember to follow up and see if I have received my confirmation form for my clock hours.

If you have the need to track your clock hours or CEU's its a pretty awesome system, and I'd highly encourage you steal what I have put together and change it for your own needs.

Probably Time to Eat My Wheaties

 One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties.&nbsp;

One of Michael Jordan's boxes of Wheaties. 

Well, it's almost two as I am decided to get up because I couldn't shut my mind off, so I decided to get up and write. Just one of those nights when you just can't unwind and fall comfortably into a deep and restful sleep. Currently we are in Puyallup and getting ready to go to Orlando Florida for CADCA's 2014 Mid Year Conference. I'm super excited, although somewhat worried about how Mateo will do on on the red eye flight tomorrow night. Here's hoping that he sleeps.

As I sit here thinking about how I can't sleep, I'm reminded of the Wheaties commercials from the 80's and 90's:

I feel like maybe I haven't been eating enough of my Wheaties lately, if by Wheaties I mean not overwhelming myself with having too much on my plate, keeping everything organized (generally in a GTD fashion). It feels like I just have so many things that I have coming up this fall and things that I need to get ready for.

You better eat your Wheaties.
— Michael Jordan

With changing jobs to the Pasco School District, I have a PRAXIS II exam that I need to start studying for, along with a training and just getting ready to change positions. Along with that, I am still trying to manage my current clients, follow up with all of them before I transition and determine if they will be transferred to a therapist, to whoever gets hired as a new case manager, or if they just need to be closed.

More than the PRAXIS II, I'm also going to be eligible to take my test for my clinical social work license this fall. While these tests and changes are in the back of my mind, they are not anything that has priority right now. My focus the last couple of weeks has been the two new classes I'm going to be teaching at Heritage this fall. I taught case management last Fall, but it was an online course. I decided that it would be a better format to have it be an in class format, which means I'm having to go through and revamp the course completely. I am really excited about it, and have really enjoyed my time teaching in the past, it's just a lot of work.

Going to Florida for a week is going to be a lot of fun with some great learning experiences, but also feels like a lot in the midst of everything. You can rest assured that I will be writing up some posts about my time there and the conference. I might even be able to get around to the book that I brought with me to read, but we will have to see about that one. I can say one thing for sure, when I get back, I'm going to have to buckle down and eat my Wheaties.

Positive Life Transition, Did Somebody Say Summer

My son, Mateo, at my mom's for the 4th of July after playing in the sprinklers.

This weekend we got the opportunity to go boating for the first time this year. While I've been able to BBQ a couple of times, it was the first thing that we've done all summer and spring that really felt like summer. It was really great, although I'm a lit more red for the ware (don't worry, my redness tends to turn into brown every year). You can even check out some photos from our boating extravaganza.

 

The Tri-Cities has been experiencing extremely high temperatures, with it expected to be up to 106 on Wednesday. With all of my thoughts about summer, and how summers have changed since I was in college, I'm really excited to announce a pretty big change in my professional career.

i-heart-pasco-schools.png

Starting in the middle of August, I've turned in my notice at Tri-Cities Community Health that I will be terminating my employment there. I've been working in their Behavioral Health Services department as a case management and therapist for the better part of three years, you can check out my resume if your interested. It's been a really great experience. I have great co-workers, enjoy working with my patients, and have really learned a lot. That being said, working for a community mental health agency is difficult and fraught full of really high case loads and paperwork demands.

I've accepted a position with the Pasco School District as a mental health therapist. I'll be working at the elementary school and middle school levels leading groups, doing individual assessments, coordinating with outside agencies, and more. I'm very excited for this position, and have been ready for a change. Other than the fact that I'm sure I'm going to love the work, I'm really looking forward to having a school schedule and spending more time with my family and friends.

Ever Wonder How You Can Play Video Games and Get Paid

I'm not much really much of a gamer. I own a Playstation 3, but it hasn't been plugged into my TV for probably almost a year. I did enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto IV and Assassin's Creed. I recently listened to In Social Works podcast with Michael Langlois: Gamer-Affirmative Practice: Today's Play Therapy.

Mike Langlois has a blog called Gamer Therapist. While I'm not super interested in video games specifically, I have for a long time been interested in the interaction between mental health treatment and technology. The reason I originally bought a mac is wanting to learn how to create some iPad apps related to mental health treatment. While I still haven't learned Objective C (well, now it would be better to pursue SWIFT), my practice has been greatly been improved by technology.

I'm not sure if I'm going to bring my playstation into the office anytime soon and start implementing it my practice. It is an interesting avenue to pursue and look into.

Review of Buttrick's Practical Typography

 Graphic of the dictionary definition of typography.

Graphic of the dictionary definition of typography.

While I am not hyper typographically aware, I do still care quite a bit about it. In my design, I do feel that that I practice ok typography. There are a great number of articles and stuff written by typography devotees that I will not spend very much time ranting about my likes and dislikes.

Be­cause you are a pro­fes­sion­al writer, you are already a ty­pog­ra­ph­er. You may be a re­luc­tant ty­pog­ra­ph­er. You may be an un­skilled ty­pog­ra­ph­er. But every time you put words on a print­ed page, you’ve made ty­pog­ra­phy hap­pen. So you are a typographer.
— Why typography matters, Buttrick's Practical Typography

I recently finished reading Butterik's Practical Typography. It's an online book, something that I've never seen before. It's an interesting way to publish a book. Due to the topic, I think that it is probably one of the best possible ways to publish. When I am wondering how to do something typographically, I'm very likely to google it, not to pick up some hardcover book and flip through it. I book marked it and read it on my iPad, which I think was much more comfortable to do then on a computer screen.

I didn't realize previously how inclusive typography really is. According to Wikipedia, Typography includes "the arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning)."

The cover to our pamphlet that i am working with my co-workers to put together.

Buttrick goes through all of the different components of typography, along with font selection (which is what I used to think typography was). I found myself realizing how bad some of my typography for my day job really is. I've started adjusting my form letters that I write to my clients. I also went through and adjusted my personal letterhead (yes, I have my own letterhead, because I'm a little bit crazy).

One major project that a couple of co-workers and myself have undertaken is trying to reduce the number of forms our clients have to fill out during their initial mental health evaluation. Because we are a community counseling agency, the amount of forms they have to complete is pretty outrageous. We are attempting to go through and have a simple pamphlet. i obviously said that I would love to actually format and put together the pamphlet wanting to be able to implement some of the skills I had learned.

If you every have to write reports, letters, anything that you give to anybody else, I'd highly recommend reading Buttrick's book!

Word Salad and Technical Jargon

A graphic I created in Adobe Illustrator depicting a vegetables, a salad bowl, and the text "word salad." The veggies used are from All Free Download's Salad the and I got some inspiration from the Dreamtimes stock photo: Bowl with Vegetables. You can download the Illustrator File.

Working in the mental health field when I am working with my clients, I attempt to steer clear of technical jargon. There are times and places that I do use more psychobabble, but if I do use it in session it's coupled with a description in plain English. This is especially relevant for the clientele that we serve at my agency, which is predominately Medicaid clients. Being a community mental health center, a large percentage of my patients tend to be chronically mentally ill, impoverished, and undereducated. It is always important to make sure that what I am teaching, working on / through is understandable.  While, in my conversations, I attempt to include the smallest amount of specialized terminology as possible, in my documentation I strive to be as technically accurate as possible. This means that prefer to name things using the most appropriate and specific verbiage.

Word Salad: Noun
A confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases, specifically (in psychiatry) as a form of speech indicative of advanced schizophrenia.
— Oxford University Press

While I do not profess to be experiencing anything remotely close to word salad or more clinically defined as schizophasia. Realistically, its not even in the same class of thought disorders. The last couple of weeks, I've been noticing that at home I find myself using an excess of opaque non-technological expressions. Very often for me, this means referring to everything as "the thing." For example, I'll ask Minnie "can you hand me the thing," to which she replies "what thing?" and I realize she has not idea what I'm talking about and say "you know, my water bottle."

For all of us, this is a normal part of speech, and not abnormal one bit. It's very common for all of us to have a word not come instantly to mind, and so we use some sort of filler word. I almost wish that the stock word I absentmindedly choose was something with more novelty like doohickey, thingy-a-bob, dongle, whatchamacallit, widget.. etc, mine is pretty Plain Jane. We all use different placeholder terms. You should read the the list on Wikipedia article for placeholder names which has some really interesting ones that I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate into my everyday speech.

The same way, if you are doing public speaking and are attempting to stop saying "Umm" (or more frequently "like" for me personally), that I see myself calling any object a thing. It might be, that I've been thinking about my over use of "thing," but it made me wonder if some of it could be because of my days being spent attempting to be clear, concise, and as accurate as possible. Just maybe, it's as if I save up all my casual phrases and use an abundance whenever I'm away from work.

The Economy and Social Work

With the worldwide, national, state, and local economies facing an economic downturn, it is important to examine its effects on social service agencies and social work. The active policy of how economic downturns effect social service agencies is examined though a number of modalities. When looking at these types of policies the affected populations must be described. The historical, worldwide, national, and statewide perspectives provide context and understanding of the problem. A policy analysis matrix is also utilized to give a more concrete description of the crisis.

Continue reading…

Working with Diverse Populations: Juvenile's Involved in the Justice System

No Matter How Loud I Shout by Edward Humes is a powerful book about Juveniles in the Juvenile Justice System. You can find a copy of No Matter How Loud I Shout on Amazon or on No Matter How Loud I shout on Google Books.

Working with a diverse population requires the social worker examine aspects that make up the population. To fully examine a population, a few of the aspects that should be researched are as follows; best practices for working with the population, cultural background, tradition, norms and values, history of oppression, types of support, family dynamics, spirituality, and body language. The stories that fill Humes book come and address each of these aspects at different points.

Humes (1999) was granted unprecedented access to the juvenile courts in California. The juvenile court system is closed to outsiders and often seems secretive. The juvenile court system encompasses a large number of youth. In California there are 30,000 juvenile delinquency cases brought to court each year, 26 juvenile detention camps with some 4,400 youth, and 8,700 juvenile prison wards. The courts only have four basic sentences they can give to juveniles; (1) HOP (home of parent); (2) suitable placement (a network of public and private foster homes); (3) juvenile detention camps; (4) juvenile prison. This gives only limited options to how a judge can sentence a delinquent youth.

Humes book describes the various aspects of the Californian juvenile justice system. It moves around the stories of seven different teenagers involved in the court system. He also has in-depth look some different judges, their views and court rooms. Along with the judges he provides stories that involve attorneys, probation officers, youth, delinquents, families, social workers, teachers, and many others that come and go though the lives of the teenagers. It is all set up in story lines that intertwine together to give the reader a picture of court system.

To read the full review of Humes 1999 book and working with juvenile offenders or check out my resources.