Life can be a difficult road to navigate with all its twist and turns. As a social worker, it is our responsibility to provide the best road map we can for others and to stand with people as they navigate the road ahead. Choosing to be a social worker is born out of “an outgrowth of your commitment to helping others,” (Garthwait, 2017, p. 185). When we are healthy it is a little easier to face the challenges that life throws at us, but when one is diagnosed with a serious illness, like cancer, an oncology social worker can be a lifeline and a bright light in a dark time.
When one gets a cancer diagnosis it turns their world upside down. It is a dark and scary place with overwhelming amounts of information thrown at you. Oncology social workers can help in so many areas. They aid with practical information on resources and insurance coverage. They also provide the emotional support that is necessary, like helping you deal with the diagnosis and talking to loved ones about your illness. The list is never ending. They truly provide support in every way as they help you learn to navigate a whole new world.
By helping with the unknown world that the person has entered and connecting with the patient they can give hope. The act of kindness of remembering that they have a patient that is starting their treatment for the first time today and being there for them; just talking and asking about family and then remembering their names when they come back for their next scary procedure; sitting with the patients that must face the scariest time of their lives alone because they have no one else make all the difference to someone walking through their darkest hour.
The empathy and love shown by a social worker in a time of distress can help a person live their best life or in some cases just live. The actions of one such social worker helped a scared patient decide to choose that profession for herself and I am eternally grateful.
By: Christina Seale, EKU social work student
Garthwait, C.L. (2017). The Social Work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Garthwait, C.L. (2017). The Social Work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed). Boston, MA: Pearson. ISBN 10:0-13-394841-2
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