This Social Worker “Sticks to It” to Do More for Her Patients
Social workers are a dedicated lot.
At Crossroads Hospice, we see that every day both in our own social workers and in the many social workers we come into contact with at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and in our patients’ homes. They are the doers and the fixers; the connectors that make care go more smoothly, help families connect and focus on the big picture of a patient’s life while executing on the details.
Because we at Crossroads Hospice think social workers are so great, we’ve created the Caring More Award to recognize professional achievements, patient advocacy and community service of social workers. We even created the social work superhero, but that’s another story.
After an extensive nomination and voting process, Katie Carter has won the 2016 Caring More Award in Memphis, TN. Carter has always wanted to make a difference in the lives of those in need, and feels social work is her calling.
Each day, when she goes to work at the Cardiac Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, she is rewarded by “the feeling that I get after I help patients; it’s a feeling of accomplishment that I helped someone who didn’t know they could get help, and didn’t know what help was available.”
Making a Difference Throughout Her Social Work Career
Carter explains that she chose social work because she wanted to “make a difference in the lives of those in need; those who didn’t have family support or financial wherewithal to care for themselves.”
She got her start working for the Memphis Alcohol and Drug Council.
“I had seen the problems drugs and alcohol can wreak, and it was worthwhile work,” she says. “I really enjoyed working with the older adults with addictions. They were thoughtful, and I like to listen to their feedback and life experiences.”
Carter also worked in two long-term care centers before joining St. Francis.
At St. Francis, Carter works with patients who will only be on the cardiac care unit for a short time, and may need placement in a nursing home or rehab center upon discharge from the hospital. “I’ll jump through hoops to get them services, calling doctors or community agencies to get them what they need,” she says
“Some patients with more advanced heart disease don’t know they are eligible for hospice, and I am able to educate them and their families about hospices in Memphis,” Carter explains.
Advocacy Means Sticking to It
As a social worker, Carter is determined to make her patients’ recoveries successful. It’s not always easy.
Carter sees the biggest challenge of her job as funding. “Insurance pays for less care in the hospital and for fewer services than my patients need, such as specialized care or medical equipment. I overcome the issues by sticking to it.”
“But I wouldn’t do anything else. It’s my calling.”
Helping Doesn’t End at 5 p.m.: Working with Special Needs Adults
Carter takes her professional skills to the community and volunteers at One by One, a counseling program for young, single mothers, in the Memphis area.
She also runs an adult Sunday school and sports activities that help adults with special needs stay active and engaged in their community. There are several hundred participants.
“Special needs adults have a special place in my heart,” says Carter .
One special program Carter gives a shout out to is Friends of Faith Ministry, which provides services and social interaction for special needs adults. In fact, Carter has named Friends of Faith to receive the $500 donation that is part of Crossroads Hospice’s Caring More Award.
In addition to a busy career and volunteer life, Carter is a married mother of two and is pursuing her master’s degree in social work.
You can learn more about Memphis hospice care here.
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