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March is National Social Work Month

March is National Social Work Month

Photo (from left to right): Shardei Nelson, Lataisha Hendricks, Mary Beaven, Sandra Smith, Julia Burgess, and Jennifer Moore

A social worker is a professional who aims to enhance overall well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of people and communities. Hospice social workers go one step further and assist patients and their families in navigating the end-of-life process to provide support and resources.

At Mary Washington Hospice, our incredible team of social workers makes a difference in the lives of our patients every day. We sat down with them to find out more about what it means to be a hospice social worker.

What made you want to be a social worker?

I have always been a person that tried to help the people that were less fortunate than myself. In school, I was always bringing home multiple people because their parents worked late and they would be home alone, didn’t have enough to eat so I would invite them to dinner (without discussing it with my mom, who always made the meals stretch!), or that classmate that no one talked to and felt left out; these were the people I would seek out.” -Jennifer Moore, MSW, LMSW

What do you find rewarding about your job?

I enjoy developing professional relationships with our patients and providing resources to them that improve their quality of life. In hospice, sometimes just my presence with a patient and spending time building rapport with them is rewarding, when I know my visit has brightened their day.” -Julia S. Burgess, LCSW

What is special or different about being a social worker for a hospice?

Hospice social workers have very special roles. We meet the patient where they are! We are nonjudgmental and offer patient and family psychosocial and emotional support. Often, patients and families rely on us to navigate their feelings through the dying process. My role is special because I am afforded the opportunity to spend quality time, address end of life questions, and get to know the patient and their family.” -Lataisha D. Hendricks, MSW

How does the interdisciplinary team support your efforts or work together?

“It takes special people to work in hospice and every team member is a vital part of making sure the families and patients receive what they need before they leave this earth. The team works together through collaboration and a holistic approach to make sure we assist with all the needs expressed by the patient and their family.” -Jennifer Moore, MSW, LMSW

What are some of the challenges you face as a social worker?

“Some of the biggest challenges we face as social workers is navigating through community agency red tape to advocate for our patient’s needs. It is also difficult that, given a community of our size, resources can be quite limited for this area.” -Julia S. Burgess, LCSW

What encourages you?

“I get to inspire and uplift people daily!” -Lataisha D. Hendricks, MSW

What do you wish people knew about social workers?

“I wish people understood that social workers are there to help, not hurt. Our compassion, empathy, and knowledge are to assist them to the next phase of their lives, and to be better.” -Jennifer Moore, MSW, LMSW

Thank you to all of our Mary Washington Hospice social workers, for all you do to support this community every day!