As the saying goes, “not all heroes wear capes.” There are unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to make impacts in our businesses and communities. One group many may undermind as heroes are our social workers.

These heroes work in a profession to promote change and empower people and their communities. They can be found in schools, hospitals, courtrooms, local neighborhoods, politics, policy making and non-profit organizations – both in the public and private sectors.

A social worker has gone to school and has received either a degree and/or license in social work. The following are degrees and licenses in social work such as a bachelor of social work (BSW), master of social work (MSW), certified social worker (CSW), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and/or doctorate of social work (DSW or PhD).

The role of a social worker is often unknown or stigmatized by negative stereotypes seen in the media. Many times, these heroes are portrayed breaking up families or interfering with the lives of other people outside of their scope of practice. While there are difficult and complicated aspects of their role, those in need of social workers rely on their expertise and resources to meet their needs.

Social workers in health care maintain the same ethical principles: ensuring their patients’ basic human needs are met, in addition to their overall well-being. This includes finding financial resources and access to care outside of a health care setting. Social workers go the extra mile to address all physical, mental and social needs of their patients’ serving as their advocates.

The work of a social worker is a collaborative effort with their patients’ providers and loved ones. Their patients can range from pediatrics to senior care and from varying backgrounds. The responsibilities of a social worker are to research and develop a care plan to help those who may not know how to get help. This also makes their day-to-day vary from in-office planning, set up follow-up care/appointments, referrals to nursing facilities, mental health and addiction rehabs, home health agencies, shelters, and other community resources.

Social workers have a drive and passion for helping others and are known to rise to the occasion in a crisis, traumatic events and provide community support. This March we are celebrating our own social work heroes as we recognize Social Work Month. Be sure to reach out to the social workers in your hospital to support the greater good of our patients.

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Gabby Harvey, MSSW, CSW

Gabby Harvey, MSSW, CSW, is a social worker from the Care Coordination Department and is housed in the Emergency Department at UofL Health – UofL Hospital. Gabby has three degrees including a bachelor's in communications from Indiana University and bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from the University of Louisville and is a Certified Social Worker (CSW). Gabby has several years of experience working with substance use disorders, pregnant and post-partum women, veterans, adults with disabilities, and homelessness. Gabby has been with UofL Health since April 2020.

All posts by Gabby Harvey, MSSW, CSW
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