World Social Work Day - Meet Amanda and Marisa

World Social Work Day takes place today (16th March) and celebrates the contributions of social workers across the globe. At St Oswald’s Hospice we have two fantastic social workers, Amanda Wait and Marisa Woodward who are part of our Family Support Team and make a huge contribution to the care we provide.

Our Hospice is known for providing outstanding medical care, but what our social workers provide extends beyond the treatment of physical symptoms, they believe in making the most of time for everyone while they are at St Oswald’s, no matter how long they are with us.

Amanda has been part of the St Oswald’s family for almost six years and Marisa joined nearly two years ago. Both believe that this is without a doubt the most rewarding and fulfilling role they’ve had since working in social work. Amanda tells us more:

“Compared to the other roles I’ve had out in the community we really have time here for the patients and families and the care is truly centred on them.  We’re able to see things through properly and build relationships. We provide care at such a crucial time and it’s a real privilege to be able to do that. This makes the role so enjoyable but also tough at times.”

Marisa added:

“Teamwork is vital in our role, the whole multi-disciplinary team (MDT) here at the Hospice work so well together and it’s truly amazing what can come out of that. Our role is very unique and complex but we all have a shared responsibility and that’s very reassuring to know.

“It’s so important we work in a person centred way so we can get to know what the patient’s wishes and choices are – we really try to get to the essence of what is important to them. Every morning I get up and know my job is purposeful and because of that I really love what I do.”

Amanda and Marisa offer a wide variety of support to the patients and their families and mostly work on our Inpatient Ward. They are often described as ‘Jack of all trades’ when introduced to the patients because of their varied role. They are responsible for day to day practical jobs like organising patient discharge when a patient is going home, completing assessments of need, helping to put patients in touch with others when they need advice such as Will writing services and they are two of the Safeguarding Leads for the Hospice.

However, their job is also more than that, it includes therapeutic work, offering a listening ear and comfort. This has been highlighted more than ever throughout Covid-19 where the support that patients and families have needed has been different to before the pandemic.

Amanda said:

“During my time at the Hospice I can honestly say that I’ve used every bit of my social work experience from the last 24 years as well as developing several new skills since joining. During the pandemic, and the fact that we now have a fantastic Family Room on the Ward, we’ve been able to ensure families continue to see their loved ones in the peak of lockdown and plan events for patients and their loved ones, which has meant so much to them. We’ve had renewal of wedding vows, afternoon teas, movie and pizza nights and even a wedding! We decorate the room and the whole team work together to create these special moments for our patients.”

Marisa ended:

“What we do can be incredibly challenging at times so we need to reflect and we still learn every day. Even though we have almost 60 years of experience between us we’re not masters at what we do, we learn from each individual patient and their unique journey.

“What we’re able to make happen as a team is so powerful. We’re part of the Allied Healthcare Professionals Team and also the Family Support Team at the Hospice and that’s what we’re here for – to support the whole family. As a Team we can make a really significant difference at such a crucial time in someone’s life. I’m so unbelievably proud to be part of that. Working at St Oswald’s, with such an amazing team around me really is my dream job – I wish I’d made the move sooner!”

Thank you to Amanda and Marisa for sharing their social work story and more about their role. Happy World Social Work Day to them both!

To find out more about World Social Work day visit their website.

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