Celebrate National Social Worker Month!

Happy National Social Worker Month! In the spirit of celebrating all the wonderful things our social workers do here at Covenant Hospice, I asked a couple of our social workers to share some information about why they chose social work and what their most memorable moments have been. Thank you to Education Manager Kristen Hudson McGehee, LCSW, ACHP-SW and Senior Regional Social Worker Michelle L. Garrett, LCSW for helping me gain more insight about social work and for sharing such great memories.

Why did you choose social work?

Kristen: I have never felt that I choose social work, rather it found me. I chooseMississippiCollege originally because of their great nursing program. I knew I wanted to be a helping professional in the medical profession. The first day of my Anatomy and Physiology class, which was also the last day to drop and add classes, I remember being so repulsed by the picture of the muscular system. I remember sitting at the BSU atMississippiCollege feeling very anxious about continuing down the nursing path…when a sociology professor I didn’t know approached me out of no where and said, “Have you considered social work?” At that time, I did not know anything about the profession.  I quickly did some research and decided to enroll in Intro to Social Work. My first class was the next day. When the professor started talking about human suffering, poverty and working to improve people lives…I knew I would spend my career as a social worker.

Michelle: A former supervisor encouraged me to look into social work. During the same time period, a long-time LPC friend also mentioned it. When I asked the difference between a counselor and a social worker, she responded “Counselors talk about problems but social workers help fix problems.” While this is a very simplified answer, it gets to the core of what we do as social workers.

What has your most memorable moment been practicing as a social worker?

Kristen: As you can imagine…most hospice social workers have a multitude of memorable moments.  I am no exception, but the things that stand out most to me are the faces of the people I have had the privilege to know.  Carol and I cared for a woman years ago whose pictures I still have.  Her family made the picture collage for us to say thank you for the work we had done.  When I was in the Pensacola Branch, I kept the picture on my desk to remind me that the work that what we do makes a difference.  Its easy to get overwhelmed by the work the social workers do everyday…keeping her pictures keeps me connected to the work I love.

Michelle: My patient, a 45 year-old lady paralyzed with ALS and only able to move her head at that time, told me that her friends were jealous of her. Of course I asked why. With a mischievous smile she said, “They’re all jealous because I’m gonna die pretty, while they’re all gonna be old and wrinkled.”  This patient, as well as a few others, have taught me that even in a horrible situation there is always something the laugh about.  Anyone who works in hospice and has not learned about priorities and perspective is not paying attention to those who can teach us the most.

Stay tuned for a post later this month about how Kristen and Michelle’s background in social work helps them further the mission of Covenant Hospice.


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