Today’s blog is provided by Guest Blogger, Tiffany Sitts, MSW
Hospital Social Worker | Mom |Party Planning Pro

A Social Worker’s work day is rarely boring, even in normal times.  There is always a crisis, families to help and paperwork to fill out.  These are all topics your professors prepare you for when earning your social work degree, but what they didn’t prepare us for was social work demands during a worldwide public health crisis.

I’ve done many things in my career as a Social Worker, but I never would have imagined that I’d find myself working on a COVID unit in the midst of a global pandemic.  I have seen my co-workers change, adapt and innovate in order to meet the new needs and challenges of our community.  I truly feel I was in the right place at the right time and grateful to have been able to work alongside some of the most amazing people.  As a Social Worker, I am grateful I was able to make a positive, lasting impact, not only with patients and their families in our community, but also with the frontline staff at Liberty Hospital.

It was not easy. Most days were long, sometimes difficult and often emotionally draining. Every day brought a new opportunity to bring creative solutions to ensure that the individual needs for each patient and their family were met. My goal was to make families feel connected in a disconnected and often times, chaotic environment. As you can imagine, it was difficult and heartbreaking for patients and their loved ones to be separated.  Families and staff were in need of just as much emotional support as our patients.

We realized pretty quickly that we were in need of help to keep lines of communication between families and patients open.  Our Allscripts team and the Liberty Hospital Foundation worked together to secure IPads that served as an instrumental tool in connecting patients to the outside world and their families. The IPads were more than technology. They served as a communication life-line, helping patients through their healing process and keeping patients and families connected until patients were ready to go home. I will never forget how excited one particular family was to see and speak with their loved one. The family had not been able to see them for over 6 months. They were so grateful to the social work team for taking the time to set up a video visit.

I get a lot of satisfaction through my work and through helping others. Working during COVID has had a huge impact on me, my family, and my community. I quickly learned that if I didn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t take care of others. This past year, I have had to ‘practice what I preach’ and be sure I’m taking better care of myself, to recognize my own needs, so I can best meet the needs of those around me. During the past 15 months, so many have started new hobbies, created new family routines and learned big lessons.  My biggest pandemic lesson? When I am strong, I am able to share strength with those around me.  I never could have imagined how much this year would have changed so many aspects of our home and work lives. As our COVID inpatient numbers decline, I’m thankful for these lessons.  I look forward to continuing to share my strength with my coworkers, patients and their families.