Shout out to the ED Social Workers

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by jescaz, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. jescaz

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    Long time lurker never poster. Really feeling grateful for all the support I have received in the past 2 years and entering my 3rd year as an EM resident. Sure we have all gotten flack from consultants, patients, family, or the CEO or CFO from above. Hell we can even get **** from the nurses, techs, or other staff we work with. The thing I realized is when the **** hits the fan everyone in "the pit" rallies around to get the job done and really for the most part has the patient in mind. When I interviewed for residency I was always asked "why EM? " I always responded "cause we are a team".

    I don't want to downplay the job of the nurses, techs, ect. but man these social workers work their tails off. We got absolutely slammed overnight. 45 patients in 8 hours between my attending and I. Several of these were social issues. Got a 90 year old in an assisted living with constant falls. Sent from her assisted living essentially because their assisted living couldn't deal with them anymore. IM didn't have a reason to admit, I couldn't send home. Consulted social work and got paperwork to send them back to their current facilities higher level of care pending PCP follow up. Social work filled out the paperwork, I looked it over and signed.

    Little 4 month old with a spiral fracture of their humerus; concern for abuse. Social work got CPS on the phone who didn't think they needed to come eval the patient. The social worker urged them to come and they came. Paperwork filled out 90% of the CPS paperwork minus the reason why they needed to eval. I wrote two sentences and signed the paperwork and got temporary care with the grandparents.

    Psych patient needed transfer to another facility. Social worker made phone calls, got an accepting physician, filled out paperwork for transfer and I signed.

    I saw 20 patients tonight and some really sick ones. I admitted 2 to the ICU and several to the hospitalist. I couldn't do this without the social worker doing most of the grunt work behind the scene. While I was treating the septic shock patient the social worker was behind the scenes getting things done for the above patients. Poop was literally hitting the proverbial fan and they came through big time.

    Funny thing was the social worker always came up and always apologized. Sorry Dr. X I just need you to sign X paperwork that I filled out for you. Sorry Dr. X I see you're busy but I need you to authorize transfer on bed 13 to psych facility y. I've filled out the paperwork but need your signature for why they need inpatient care. Just had to review that it was correct and sign.

    According to Dr. Google a social worker makes around $40,000/yr (seems inflated). In my ED they deal with setting up appointments for the ED over users, the chronic pain patients, transfers for the psych patients, the NH patient that we don't have a great dispo for, the child we are concerned for child abuse, and almost all the BS I hate dealing with. They do this all for about 1/8th of what I will probably make when I am done with residency. I honestly think they deserve a raise but since I can't control that I will at least bring them cookies and flowers when I show up tomorrow because they came up big for me today. I really appreciate the social workers time and wanted to make this post for them.
     
  2. WilcoWorld

    WilcoWorld Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,924
    Likes Received:
    1,550
    Amen!

    I'd give up half of my consulting services before I'd give up my ED social worker.
     
  3. ccfccp

    ccfccp Stays crunchy in milk!
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    42
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    A good social worker is worth his or her weight in gold in the ED (unfortunately they're not paid like it.) I went from a place with excellent social workers like you describe 20 hours per day to a place with one 60 year old lady who is there for 8 hours and is obviously just waiting to retire and whose stock answer is, "Well, what do you want me to do about it?" It leads to probably 2-3 headaches per week.
     
  4. Birdstrike

    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,726
    Likes Received:
    3,448
    Good insight. Social workers generally work hard, do pretty important (though sometimes tedious) work and don't get paid enough. You're right in seeing their value. Appreciate them while you have them because at a lot of community hospitals, they are few and far between and you and others end up having to do a lot of the work they would otherwise do, or it doesn't get done at all, at the patients' expense.
     
  5. EDParallax

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    17
    Are you sure? Because I'd swear I work with her, too. The good ones are rare and deserve a lot more.
     

Share This Page