Month: December 2023

The Impact of a Social Worker

A Jenga tower with missing pieces represents the impact of a social worker.

The Impact of a Social Worker Transcript:

I am Tracey Willingham, Vice President of Client Programs at Cancer Care. I am a licensed master social worker, and I am proud to lead our social work team, who are committed to meeting basic and complex needs of thousands of people impacted by cancer in our community.

I became a social worker because I believe everyone deserves an advocate to stand with them, and I get to do that every day here at Cancer Care Services.

So what does a social worker actually do, and why does it matter? By definition, a social worker is a licensed professional who is trained in theories, boundaries, and human behavior. This specialized training matters because our social workers are the foundation of our mission, ensuring that no one has to cope with cancer alone.

If you’ve ever played a game of Jenga, you know that every move has potential consequences and that the bottom blocks are the foundation blocks. With a cancer diagnosis, you constantly feel like things are getting pulled out from under you, and unexpected stressors are constantly getting stacked on top. Much like the challenges of playing Jenga, a cancer diagnosis can cause emotional and financial instability to families, from those first three words that start it all– “You have cancer.”

Our social workers are the stabilizing blocks for cancer patients and their families as we help them navigate the uncertain balance of emotions, financial stress, and fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis. So, the sooner we can connect with a client, the sooner we can begin working to reduce their distress.

But right now, we don’t have the financial resources to enhance our social work team to keep up with our increase in clients, making me deeply concerned about our ability to effectively provide the individualized care we know is vital. Our current social workers can handle 200 new referrals in a month. Right now, they’re receiving almost 300 new referrals per month. Simply put, we do not have enough social workers to serve all seeking our programs and services.

For my social work team, who I love working beside every day, a client is not just another name added to their caseload. Our next client could be your mom, dad, sibling, child, friend…or even you. No one should cope with cancer alone.

Transcription by: Kirbi T.

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