Robin and Liz are social workers at the St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. They were lead to social work through different paths, but neither can imagine doing anything else. They believe that every patient is a unique chance to make a difference. CureSearch recently caught up with Robin and Liz to learn more about their role, and what led them to this profession.
Q: What led you to becoming Social Workers?
Robin: Both of my parents worked in the health care industry which gave me the opportunity to volunteer in a hospital. From a very young age, I would read case studies and became very interested in how families interacted and coped. I also was able to shadow social workers, and decided after that to become one.
Liz: In 1989 I had a daughter who was born a conjoined twin. A social worker helped me to deal with the stress of the diagnosis. I was so touched by her care that I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Q:What is an average day like for you at the hospital?
Robin and Liz: We work as a team to provide support and direction to patients and their families. A big part of our job is to change the way that a patient copes with a situation. We connect families with resources, whether it is organizations outside of the hospital, or information on treatment. Most of the day is spent talking to patients, trying to understand how they are feeling and finding ways to help.
Q:What is your least favorite part of being a social worker?
Robin: Poor communication.
Liz: I agree with Robin. Poor communication can derail a treatment plan. We are constantly working to provide the best possible care, but if communication isn’t there, that is hard to do.
Robin: We believe that this job requires a team effort. Since we all function as a team, we all need to talk to each other to do our job.
Q:What is your favorite part of being a social worker?
Liz: When people trust you. That is huge. We work to provide a safe and trusting atmosphere, when that happens, people confide in you and you can really help them. We help them realize their fears and troubles, and help them overcome those. I love hearing families open up about the issues that they are facing.