We ask Sarah Heuges, MSW some questions in celebration of Social Work Month.
This month is Social Work Month, a time when we celebrate the role that social workers have in our society and the contributions to different sectors and industries. To celebrate, we've interviewed Sarah Heuges, our Clinical Liaison to understand more on why social workers are essential and especially why they are essential in the healthcare industry.
1. Tell us your story. Why did Sarah Heuges become a social worker?
I was raised by a single mother who is both a journalist and feminist. As I grew up in Philadelphia in a multi-cultural area, I developed an interest in the way people lived, what motivated them, what mattered to them, what made us similar and what made us different and why. That interest led me to Sociology, until I sat in on a friends social work class in college as an undergraduate. That class resonated with me, I identified with the content; it just felt “right”. When I went back to graduate school for my Master’s degree, I chose social work because it felt like “home”. I have been fortunate enough to work in hospitals, psychiatric crisis centers, as a as well as enjoying time as a psychotherapist in private practice. Most recently I was a behavioral health clinician in a local county jail. Each setting allowed me to gain knowledge and experience that has allowed me to become a well-rounded social worker.
2. This month is Social Work Month and the theme is “social workers are essential.” Why are social workers essential, especially in healthcare?
Social Workers are unsung heroes in healthcare. We are trained to “meet the client/patient where they are”. In other words, we approach the people whom we work with being non-judgmental and accepting that our clients have their own worldview, and it is our job to meet them there and to not impose our worldview onto them. This leads to trust and rapport. In healthcare, we wear many hats, but the most important hat we wear is the one that allows us to advocate for our patients. Healthcare can often be solely clinical. Social workers add empathy, advocacy, and the ability to gain trust. In addition, we often think outside of the box when it comes to solutions or ideas in the healthcare arena and offer unique problem-solving skills.
3. Tell us about your role at Blessings4Ever and why it is unique?
Blessings in a unique agency! Non-skilled homecare agencies traditionally do not have social workers on staff. This makes my role exciting because while I am a clinical liaison by title, I am a social worker by training. This has allowed me to bring a clinical social work skill set and knowledge base to our amazing team. I follow our consumers/patients along the healthcare continuum. When someone is hospitalized, I follow them through their course of care until they return home with their B4E caregiver. I collaborate with the B4E care coordination team on challenges our consumers face, and we problem solve together, often producing creative solutions. Much of my week is filled with creating relationships out in the community, with hospitals, nursing homes, fellow social workers as well as nurses and physicians.
4. What is your favorite part about being a social worker?
My favorite part of being a social worker is building relationships with clients, being a part of giving people a voice, and empowering people to be their own advocates. Witnessing change; witnessing justice.
5. How is Blessings4Ever celebrating social work month and honoring social workers?
B4E recognizes the important role that social workers play across the healthcare continuum. We are celebrating social workers by sharing information on our social media pages and website, and delivering social work “survival kits”! Hand lotion, sanitizer, lip balm, pens and notebooks and most impressively, custom made B4E facial masks that say “Blessed to be a social worker”. We take pride in the work that we do and being recognized for it is both gratifying and humbling.
Sarah Heuges, MSW