March is Social Work Month! Social workers bridge gaps, facilitate interactions, and help people communicate and cope. In celebration, we turn the spotlight to our dedicated social workers and listen on what they have to say about their role. A big toast goes along with our warm appreciation to all social workers who make a difference!
I became a social worker because I knew I wanted to help people after I ran a charity marathon for the AIDS Foundation. I heard personal stories from people impacted by AIDS and wanted to do something more meaningful with my life. My most memorable experiences are working with patients and families: shedding light on a complicated situation through education and advocacy, and seeing their relief.
For me, becoming a hospice social worker is not just a job but also a calling in life. This is who I have been striving to be my entire life. I have a unique, wonderful, and privileged role in the lives of patients and families I have the honor to serve. When people ask me why I want to work with the dying, I answer: “For me it’s a ministry. I feel passionate about the dignity and worth of each person and the importance of the human relationship. I believe that through working in hospice, I have the opportunity to make the ending of life as beautiful as the beginning.” That is why I do what I do.
I decided to become a social worker because I enjoy working with others. I chose a profession where I can help a variety of people and make a difference in their lives. My best experience as a social worker was when I spent the whole day at bedside with the patient’s family. We talked, told stories, and looked at pictures together. I was present with the family when the patient died and helped in providing them support. As the patient’s daughter was leaving the facility, she gave me a hug and said, “I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t here with me today.” I will never forget those words. It reassured me that as social workers, we really do make a difference.
Being in the social work field, I learned that no matter how stressful or overwhelming the situation may be, I need to choose to be a social worker every day. To be a social worker means that one approaches each situation with compassion and humbleness to be able to provide the best aid possible. I have been honored with the chance to meet individuals at their most vulnerable moments and I don’t take that for granted. My best experience yet was when I worked with a brain cancer patient who was under hospice services for 2.5 months. The patient openly shared his fears, doubts, hopes, and his wish for a miracle. When he passed away, I was given the chance to walk alongside his family, listening to their emotions, providing support and encouragement throughout. I will always remember this family because they taught me the most important lesson I could have as a hospice social worker —being present is the most beneficial and comforting skill.
The word social worker never crossed my mind when I was younger. It wasn’t until I had a teacher at Judson University that I thought and realized, it’s being a social worker that I wanted. Now I can say that being a social worker is in my blood. Graduate School was a necessity to get the credentials but from the time I was born to the age of 27, I know God has groomed me through life experiences, perspective, social skills, and empathy to make me a very good social worker. It just took meeting one teacher to open my eyes and lead me to the most fulfilling part of my life: helping people in the community I live in.
I have always wanted to be a helper. It feels good knowing your job directly impacts the lives of others positively. Being a social worker is more than just a job, it is an honor. My best experience as a social worker was the first death I was present for. This sweet woman’s family was not able to sit with her. Her admission and decline happened so quickly, I did not get the chance to meet her family prior to the sitting. I held her hand while she took her last breath and she looked so peaceful. Her family said, “You don’t know how grateful we are that she didn’t die alone.” I was a stranger to them and was simply doing my job but in those final moments, I was able to tell her that her family loved her. That was such a great honor.