While the medical team attends to patients’ diagnoses and treatment, hospital-based social workers focus on a variety of emotional, socio-economic and financial problems related to the patients’ health condition or life situation. These health care professionals also address legal issues, refer clients to community resources and engage in research, policy development and advocacy for services.
Within The Valley Health System, social workers handle a wide range of situations, such as arranging medical transportation back to a foreign country, ensuring an adoption is handled correctly or discovering medical or financial resources for a patient. They also help coordinate the various needs a patient may have before leaving the hospital.
Sindhu Das, MSW, a licensed social worker at Centennial Hills Hospital has been working in the field of social services for about 20 years. Throughout these years, Sindhu has gained experience in all adult acute floors, neonatal intensive care units and women’s services. One aspect that is very near and dear to her heart is working with families. “I enjoy working with infants that are either born too early or with multiple medical complications. I enjoy supporting the families and seeing the babies get discharged home to their parents. If I can make the families feel confident that we can provide the best care for their babies, I feel accomplished.” Overall, social workers like Sindhu work hard in ensuring that the mental, physical and financial needs of our patients are met in a professional manner each day.
Another licensed clinical social worker, Della Riolo, LCSW, explains how she found her passion for social work. “Helping people just came naturally to me. Plus, my father was a great role model for me growing up. I specifically remember watching the movie Sybil and its impact the therapist had on me. I think it was at this moment I knew what I wanted to do.” Social workers are crucial in helping people in all stages of life and in all situations. After 33 years in the field, Della states, “Social work can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. Knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life is what I enjoy most about my job.”
The Valley Health System has multiple social workers throughout its six hospitals. In addition to adult health, women’s services, acute rehabilitation and geropsychiatric units have their own social worker to address the unique needs of their patients. Social workers must be licensed in Nevada and have either a bachelor's or master’s degree in social work.