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Published on March 17, 2009

Hospitals Rely on Social Workers

March 17, 2009 


Dear Editor:

Early in my career as a Medical/Surgical nurse, I thought the Social Service provider role was to assist patients and families when there were controversies. Physicians and nurses were in charge of healing the patient, and that nurses were the best to comfort the patient. Thankfully over the years, some wonderful Social Service providers have shown me that we nurses don’t have a lock on comforting, nurturing or consoling our patients and families. The abilities of the skilled Social Service providers to listen, to reassure, to comfort and encourage suffering, fearful or anxious patients often speed a patient’s recovery more effectively than any medication or clinical procedure. We should remind ourselves that not every healer uses a scalpel, needle or medication cup to heal their patients. 

Social Service providers help all types of people at every stage of life, and in a multitude of settings. Just a few of the services they provide: 

  • Psychosocial counseling of patients with new diagnosis which may or may not involve life style changes, domestic violence, abuse
  • Crisis intervention
  • Assess psychiatric emergencies in the ED and patients admitted, arranging disposition 
  • Advocates for patients and families
  • Assist with advance directives, adoptions
  • Facilitate and coordinate discharge planning as part of a multi-disciplinary team

March is Social Service Month. Social Service providers are valued and respected members of the treatment team. They work in many facets of KHS. Please join me in thanking them for all they do. 

Beth Gale RN, BSN
Director, Case Management/Behavioral Health
KishHealth System

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