In My Shoes: A Day in the Life of a Social Worker

My name is Katie Kauffman and I am the Social Worker for PACC.

When asked to write this blog post, I was coming out of a tough week (as many of us face in our work) and hopefully can shed some light on the impact not only we as medical providers have, but also the impact our patients have on us.

I have been working as a social worker for over 12 years and have spent at least half of that time here at HealthNet in one capacity or another. I have the privilege now to provide care and support to our most vulnerable population, pediatrics and adolescents at PACC.

In my work we face varying degrees of needs and situations with our patients.  One of the many wonderful things about HealthNet is we often see people from birth, at the start of a new and exciting time in a family’s life, to the toughest of days. Among the increased needs of our patients, the increased caseloads we carry as social workers, the most important part of what I do every day, is stopping and listening.  Coming to this organization every day and checking in with patients, assisting them with referrals to community resources for the most basic of needs, to sharing a laugh or a struggle with a co-worker is a most humbling experience and one I never take for granted.

Often times the term “social worker” leaves many wondering what that title or role involves. Unfortunately, with that role comes the tough part of my job, the part that no one enjoys. My number one priority is to always be an advocate for my patient. My patients are helpless, innocent children and ensuring their safety and that their basic needs are met is always a focus of mine. Providing resources and connecting patients with outside agencies is a big part of what I do. A number of community agencies we have close working relationships with include, Catholic Charities, The YMCA, and Indiana Legal Services, to name just a few. I also work closely with Department of Children Services and have often been called to court to speak on behalf and advocate for our patient’s needs.

At the core of what we do is care. We also strive to understand where our patients are coming from and providing empathy for the road they are traveling, at whatever stage of life they are in.

Our patients face change and unpredictability on a daily basis. We as medical caregivers and providers at HealthNet can be the one stability for them. That is something I strive to be for the people I serve.


Post by Katie Kauffman

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