Thank You, Social Workers!

Happy Social Work Month! We want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the wonderful social workers at Texas Children’s Hospital but especially our BMT Social Workers.
HGF sat down with the BMT Social Work team last month to learn more about why they chose to be social workers as well as discuss their valuable connection to the TCH Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. We are so grateful for them!

HGF: How did you first get into social work? 

Maricela: I tried a lot of different career fields and internships, and I just happened to love working with other people and learning about how people think. I wound up really loving social work. I had a mentor and she told me I needed to be a social worker, so I decided to go for it!

Jose: I got into social work when I was going through a rough patch in my life and social workers from my high school noticed, and they showed me how someone can be there and take action to change lives in a positive way. When I finished my bachelor’s degree in sociology, I went back to school and started thinking about what profession I might want to get into. Because of the social workers’ influence in my life and my desire to help others, I decided to pursue a career in social work.

HGF: What has your experience been like working at Texas Children’s and on the BMTU (Bone Marrow Transplant Unit)? What do you enjoy most about it?

Krystal: Texas Children’s has been so welcoming and so kind to us. I really enjoy the people here and the environment. With the BMTU, I really enjoy the connection that we’re able to make with families who stay with us for treatment over a long period of time.

Jose: Working in a hospital is a whole different experience for me. You can really see the needs that families have while going through hardships. When Texas Children’s hired me, they asked what service line I wanted to go to, and ultimately I became one of the Bone Marrow Transplant team social workers. I feel like with the support that Maricela, Krystal and our supervisors provide, I have managed to gain experience working with the families and to build my knowledge of the transplant process. This has allowed me to support families and to see the families get to a point that they are stable, financially and/or emotionally, through our services.

Maricela: Working at Texas Children’s has been really fun! It’s like grad school part two, but in all the best ways. I’m learning constantly. The BMTU is very special. There are very deep joys and very deep sorrows, and I feel like the best part of our unit is that we have so much time with the families. We really get to know them. It’s been really interesting to learn how to support families that are going through a bone marrow transplant.

HGF: What is your favorite thing about working with His Grace Foundation?

Krystal: Anytime we need you guys, you’re always there! And your response time is very quick! You try to help us the best you can, with any situation.

Jose: You’re always present. Not only when we call you guys, but also with the families. When you provide meals, snacks in the breakroom, or weekly activities, it helps the social workers communicate that His Grace Foundation is there to support families.

Maricela: I enjoy most that y’all are omnipresent on the unit. I don’t have to read a newsletter to know what’s going on, because it’s easy to see as soon as you enter the unit. I think that all of the programs that are in place to support not only inpatient but also outpatient families really make the experience of a bone marrow transplant smoother.

HGF: What do you find has been most valuable about His Grace Foundation’s partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital and/or the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit?

Krystal: Parking assistance has been a great resource for our patients who are transitioning to outpatient care.

Jose: I like that families know that His Grace Foundation is always there. The welcome basket is one of the nicest programs that I’ve seen. It’s a specific basket, not a generic one, which makes it feel more personal. Another program that you provide is the grocery deliveries. Many families won’t ask for that type of help, and they might get shy. It’s easier for them to ask for support when the relationship is already established with the organization through something like a welcome basket.

Maricela: His Grace Place is a huge and valuable resource. I think that it’s incredible that we have housing resources for families who need them through His Grace Place.

HGF: If there was one thing you wish people knew about social workers, what would it be?

Jose: I wish people knew that we, the social workers, are all humans. We are always trying our best to support people. We really wish that there were resources for everything, but sadly that’s not always the case. We have the capacity to feel and understand, but we also have the responsibility to utilize resources objectively.

Maricela: The scope of social work is very wide, and it’s important for people to see that we’re not one-sided. We have a lot of experience and knowledge that we can bring to providing the best possible patient experience at Texas Children’s.