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A Welcome Guest in Lives of Patients and Families

Posted by Nancy Peter, Social Worker

A Welcome Guest in Lives of Patients and Families

Everyone has heard the words “social work” and “social worker," but do you know what they really mean? When I was growing up, I thought social workers were men and women who wanted to devote their lives working in underprivileged countries helping poor people enrich their lives.

Well, I grew up and learned I wasn’t completely wrong. And after 20 plus years as a social worker, I continue to learn everyday what social work and being a social worker truly mean.

As a hospice social worker I wear many hats. I am a noun, verb, adverb and adjective. I'm a counselor, confidante, advocate, researcher and resource. I'm a cheerleader, motivator, listener, party planner, wedding coordinator and dream maker.

Mainly, I am a humbled and privileged, invited guest into the lives of patients and families who I've been honored to know over the years. Here are a few of them:

Social workers are not magicians or miracle workers. We are a group of hard working men and women who have chosen to dedicate our lives to trying to “make something better.”

Every time I walk into a patient’s room my hope is that when I leave, something is better.

So, what I know about social work now is that I cannot rescue anyone, and there is no distinction when I work with someone whether they are “privileged” or “underprivileged.” They are all human beings filled with a mixture of emotions looking to me to make something better. 

A smile, tears that needed to be shed, an increased understanding, or a warm, safe, hug that helps someone feel, momentarily, that their world will, one day, be alright again.

Those of us who go into social work probably share the lofty goal of wanting to make the world a better place. In my experience, the patients and families I've worked with have ultimately made my world a better place.

Is it possible I have been privileged enough to receive more in my work than I give? That is the amazing life of a social worker.



Comments (1)

  • Mary Helen Ekstam

    03 April 2017 at 18:55 | #

    Nancy, this was so beautifully written. I had tears in my eyes as I read this and pictured you with all of those special people that rely on you to make their world more peaceful and comforting. I am proud to know you and work with you Nancy!! JourneyCare is fortunate to have you!!!


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