To celebrate National Social Work Month (March), we sat down with a few of our 120+ social workers to talk about their unique experiences and paths that brought them to social work and then to COA.
Karen, LSW, is a FastTrack Home Hospital Care Manager at COA. She works in area hospitals, helping older adults who are being discharged complete succesful transitions back to their homes. Karen appreciates working with people who respect her work ethic and see her as a valuable asset to the team.
How long as a social worker: 26 years
How long at COA: 15 months
Other professional experiences: Youth specialist and supervisor with a foster care agency, working with children on inpatient and residential psychiatric units.
Why did you become a social worker? Following high school, I actually did not have a solid plan. However, my mom knew that I enjoyed talking with, and helping others, and suggested I volunteer at a nursing facility during the summer. I did volunteer, in the kitchen, and found myself asking to serve the trays in the dining room because I wanted to have one-on-one interactions with the residents. My degree is actually in psychology, but I received my social work license in 1992.
Favorite things about the job: As a hospital care manager, my favorite things include interacting with patients and their families, when possible. I also enjoy working with a good team of people, both at COA and at the hospital, particularly when I know that colleagues respect my work and work ethic, and value me as an important asset to the team.
Why do you find social work rewarding? Social work can be particularly rewarding when positive change and growth are actually witnessed, or a client/patient lets me know, in their own genuine way, the benefits they have received from the social work/client relationship. Obviously, this does not always occur, but the realization that I have “planted many seeds,” and may never know the positive that my skills and therapeutic relationships have had on hundreds of individuals and families is also gratifying. I am humbled by the lives I have been able to touch, and take pride in my work.