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Friday, June 01, 2012

Making a Difference: Katie Licklider

Kansas City – Independence Examiner

By Jeff Martin -

Independence, MO - Katie Licklider goes above and beyond her duty as a social worker at Centerpoint Medical Center. Providing discharge planning, crisis management and therapy services to patients and their families, Licklider said most, if not all, people who come to the hospital are experiencing a high level of emotion.

“Most people don’t want to come to a hospital, so I am happy to be there when they are concerned or confused, frustrated or depressed,” she said. “We do whatever we can to help a patient feel more comfortable and to connect them with resources as they transition home or to a facility we’ve identified that serves their needs.”

Working closely with the palliative care team, Licklider serves on the ethics, cancer and discharge committees.

In the community, Licklider, who lives in Raytown, volunteers with the Kansas City Zoo and is a supporter of the San Diego Zoo and World Wildlife Federation. She also volunteers for programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

On Thursday, Licklider received the Crossroads Hospice Caring More Award, which was started in 2011 as an award that recognizes a social worker in Kansas City who goes above and beyond for patients and in the community. She received a $500 cash prize and $500 to present to the nonprofit of her choice. She chose the American Cancer Society, which she plans to support in Centerpoint’s first Relay for Life on June 22.

You’re a social worker, but you also volunteer in other ways. Could you tell us a little bit about those volunteer activities? Volunteering isn’t just clocking in hours or donating things. Volunteering for me is when people present problems that can’t be done on the job or don’t have a 1-800-socialwork number they can call.

Why do I volunteer outside my hours of being a social worker? Because I work with cancer survivors daily, I watch families’ lives changed instantly with a test result. Caring more means being a social worker in my community as well as my job.

Social workers are already busy. What made you volunteer even more in the community?
Helping your community is an investment. Community is shared by your family, friends and co-workers. Improving my community from any effort helps those I care about and their loved ones.

How can others volunteer in the capacity you are?
We have numerous volunteers at Centerpoint Medical Center who add value to our patients’ stay and care. One of my loves is the arts and Nelson-Atkins, the Kemper Museum, Kauffman Center, all have ways to volunteer. I also love animals from the zoo variety to the household pets. Any animal organization would welcome someone to walk a dog, donate items or help bring awareness to issues.  

Why is it important to volunteer?
Helping others is not just a profession but a passion. With the help volunteers provide, everybody gains.

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