Elizabeth McGehee: All Professions Day

My name is Elizabeth McGehee and I am a senior undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma. I began my tenure at OU as an Allied Health pre-major but changed after I took “Intro to Social Work” as an elective. I love talking to people and hearing their stories, and I quickly realized I could reach my goal of helping people in a healthcare setting in a different way. I took two art therapy classes to use as a holistic approach to reach clients, which has evidence-based results. I also took three courses to learn more about social justice, which is a core value for social workers.

I was thrilled to be part of All Professions Day, an interprofessional experiential program that trains OU students from 13 disciplines to work together to serve people in our communities. This was the first year the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work attended, which was very exciting. My team consisted of eleven members including: a doctor, physical therapist, nurses, pharmacist, dentists, and me as the social worker. As a team, we were given a scenario about a patient. All of us worked together to come up with what we thought was the best treatment plan. Each professional played a vital role and we all communicated effectively.

Currently, I am doing my practicum at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City in their Trauma Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I love it! The Trauma ICU takes only patients who are aged fourteen years and older. I see patients with all types of injuries, medications, and work closely with the social work team. I shadow my field instructor.

Social workers in hospitals serve many roles. My daily work consists of empowering and advocating for the patient, communicating effectively with patients’ families, attending family meetings, working on discharge plans to move the patient towards rehabilitation, making referrals to long term acute care (LTAC) facilities, helping with necessary paperwork such as for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the disability process, applying for food stamps, arranging community resources with medical equipment companies, calling the chaplain when needed, and documenting and charting notes. We serve a diverse population with a diverse staff at OU Medical Center.

This experience very much prepared me to be a fully contributing member of the team on All Professions Day. I shared my experience and knowledge with my team and they asked me many questions. Social workers are so needed in medical settings and can make a dramatic impact on peoples’ lives.

My passion to work in a hospital setting has inspired me to pursue my MSW so I may continue to learn and grow as a social worker and to become an LCSW serving in a medical setting. My practicum has been a wonderfully educational and fulfilling experience. It really has shown me what working in a hospital as a social worker will be like.

I want to thank my incredible professors for teaching, inspiring and encouraging me along the way. I look forward to serving as a licensed health care professional who is well-equipped to serve skillfully in a medical setting.

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