How My Work Makes a Difference - Part 5
Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.” This is the fifth blog in the series written by Nicki May, Admissions Coordinator.
As an Admissions Coordinator and the Assistant to the Social Work Department my role at the Austen Riggs Center is unique in that I get to see a patient’s full treatment cycle at the Center—and get to know the family--from first contact, through treatment, to discharge.
As an Admissions Coordinator I am involved in helping the patient and family members through the difficult process of learning about and being accepted into a treatment program, at a time when everyone involved is usually anxious, frustrated, emotional, and vulnerable. I often form a bond with the patient and family as they work through the admission process and turn to me with numerous concerns and questions. On the admission consultation day I can greet them in person as someone with whom they have had a connection by phone for some time.
Where I think my role makes a special difference is that at this point my interactions with the patient and family don’t end. I get to continue to work with the patient and family in my role as the social work assistant, coordinating times and dates for family meetings or answering family calls to the social worker who serves as the family liaison. I become a familiar Riggs voice and face with whom they continue to interact, and they rely on me to guide them to the appropriate channels if they have questions or concerns. I think having a relationship with an accessible, real person on the other end of the line can help ease their worries. From experience I know that this matters a great deal.
When a patient is ready to discharge they are usually quite changed from the individual I met during the admissions process. I know that the role I have played is minor in their overall Riggs treatment experience, but I take satisfaction in knowing I have been one cog in a large wheel that has made a significant difference in their life. Seeing the transformation first hand and knowing I was a part of it is why I continue to do this work. It is challenging, and not every case is a success story, but when we can make a difference, it is rewarding and worthwhile.