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A Day in the Life of a Social Worker by Kelly Caudle

Meeting people for the first time is always interesting. Inevitably, someone is going to ask, “What do you do for a living?”. I explain I am a Hospice social worker and immediately, the eyes widen, and you hear a slight gasp followed by “Wow…it takes a special person to do what you do; I could never do that”.

“I feel honored to do what I do…”

My response is always the same. I explain that I feel honored to do what I do…that there is no greater gratification than providing comfort and support to patients and their loved ones.There is no greater feeling than knowing I have bettered someone’s day. Satisfaction can be achieved by making someone smile or stopping by with a milkshake or special treat. It could be working to make sure a grandchild gets to fly home from the military to spend quality time with his or her grandparent before death or making sure one more item is checked off a bucket list. Or it could simply be achieved by holding a hand as one transitions towards death.

Social workers wear multiple hats. I have helped at meal time, held hands at the beside and prayed with patients. Sometimes I sang songs, colored pictures and found homes for pets that would otherwise be displaced after a patient’s death. In addition, I have been a dog walker, a dishwasher and an errand girl when a caregiver ran out of medical supplies but could not leave her husband alone.

“Social work is an adventure.”

I appreciate that social work is an adventure. It’s like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates -you NEVER know what you are going to get. Sometimes the juggling isn’t easy; I could not be successful without the support of the team around me. We are a village that supports one another; we give each other advice, guidance, a shoulder to cry on and discuss strategies on how to improve quality of life.

We work together as a team to help patients and families reach their goals.