Honoring 100 for the 100th: Virginia Olds

Image of Virginia OldsVirginia Olds, a 1962 graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work, has the distinction of being the first social work student to have a field placement in Tulsa. She was assigned to Family and Children’s Services.

After graduation, she began her social work career as a caseworker with Deaconess Hospital. In 1963, she accepted a position at the OU Health Science Center as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health. This represented a pioneer commitment to teach the value of the interdisciplinary approach to enhance rehabilitative services for physically disabled persons.

In 1967 Ms. Olds transferred to the OU School of Social Work as a practicum instructor at the Department of Rehabilitative Services. Early in her tenure with the School, she worked with Dr. Lennie Tolliver in the design and implementation of the Practicum Liaison model to maximize practicum resources. Working with Nadine Roach, the pre-practicum lab was initiated.

Although her primary interest was the practicum program, Ms. Olds taught several practice-oriented courses in Norman and Tulsa. She was later appointed as the Practicum Coordinator. She developed the first OU School of Social Work Practicum Manual. In collaboration with Dr. Judy Norlin, Ms. Olds introduced the importance of legal and liability issues related to practicum instruction.

Ms. Olds had a varied social work service record. She has been involved in numerous NASW activities at local and state wide levels. She was the first chairperson for the NASW Committee on Inquiry. She worked with the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers during the early period of transition. She was a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Social Work, and also was a member of the initial board of the Oklahoma Association for Health Care Ethics. She participated in the development of the Oklahoma Hospice Association Ethics Committee, and served on many committees and boards, providing consultation to numerous individuals. In addition, she was actively involved with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army in times of major community crises.

Retired from full-time faculty in 1988, Ms. Olds continued involvement with her passions: education and health care. She served as a Practicum Liaison until 2014. She has been an OSBLSW board approved clinical supervisor for many years.

Ms. Olds developed an independent practice to participate with numerous programs serving the physical health and mental health needs of the aging. She contracted with home health agencies and hospitals to provide social work services, worked in employee-assistance programs for hospitals, and participated in the development of Horizon Specialty Hospital.

Ms. Olds became interested in hospice services in 1988. She assisted in the development of social work services for seven hospices, and also contracted to provide part-time psychosocial services for hospices in their transition periods. She continues to work part-time with Russell-Murray Hospice as their Psychosocial Advisor.

Ms. Olds has been the recipient of several awards during her career. In 1981 she was recognized by Goodwill Industries as Outstanding Professional of the Year. She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996 at the NASW State Conference. In 1998, Ms. Olds received the Oklahoma Professional Leadership Award in the Hall of Honor at the OU School of Social Work. In 2016 she was recognized as the Social Worker of the Year by the Oklahoma Association for Home Care and Hospice Association.

In 2016, Russell-Murray Hospice opened the Virginia E. Olds Resource Library to accommodate her professional book collection which is dedicated to meeting the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of those who face life-changing adjustments over the lifespan.

Ms. Olds has been honored as one of the 100 in the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Charlotte Kendrick wrote:
I worked with Virginia as a practicum instructor over the years and learned much from her. It was both an honor and a privilege to have worked with her.

Wed, April 12, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

2. sharon neuwald wrote:
Thank you Virginia for being a fine practicum supervisor. Really learned alot from you.

Thu, September 7, 2017 @ 11:32 AM

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