March 8, 2022
March is National Social Work Month: Meet EveryStep's Katie Smith
March is National Social Work Month, an observance first created in 1963 and formally signed into law in 1984. At EveryStep, social workers are essential to delivering care and services to Iowans.
Katie Smith is an EveryStep Hospice social worker with the Mt. Pleasant team. Prior to joining EveryStep, she worked with individuals with disabilities and also managed a restaurant. For the last 12 years, Katie has provided care for EveryStep Hospice patients and their families.
“I love the work that I do and I feel it is an honor to be invited into the lives and homes of our patients and their families at such an intimate time in their lives,” says Katie.
As a hospice social worker, Katie says she meets patients and families where they are and provides emotional support; assistance with financial, legal and insurance questions and concerns; and help finding and accessing resources to meet their needs and goals. “I can't think of any other job I would rather do than to be there for the patients and families we serve,” says Katie. “I have also been on the receiving end of hospice services with multiple loved ones and I can't say enough about the support I and my family received from our agency.”
Katie says her greatest joy as a hospice social worker comes from the one-on-one with patients and their families. “I feel like they all teach me something new and add to my life. I recently found a few newspaper articles about final wishes I coordinated, including the first one I ever did to send a patient and his family to a Cubs game and I remember how much this meant to them and to me. I also had a patient who was a huge Iowa Hawkeye fan. We were able to send her to a game with her hospice nurse and a family member, and I can remember the huge smile on her face in every picture taken that day.
“Even though these big events stick in our minds, I get just as much joy and satisfaction out of the daily smiles I get, the hugs of appreciation for my visit or for helping patients and families navigate tough situations, honoring and thanking our veteran patients for their service, and improving daily quality of life through simple things such as providing music the patient enjoys or providing a pocket talker device that helps patients who are hard-of-hearing be better able to communicate and enjoy visits with family, friends, their hospice care team and their caregivers.”
Katie says the people she serves and the strong team around her help her navigate the stresses of her job. “We all experience loss in our lives, but being there to support the people we serve and helping them through this time keeps me positive. My hospice team also helps me stay positive; we support each other daily and help each other through the hard times.”
If you are interested in joining the EveryStep team, visit https://www.everystep.org/careers. If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form at www.everystep.org/find-care. The form sends a message to EveryStep staff who then follow up with a phone call. It's a great way to start a conversation and get answers with no cost or commitment. EveryStep can connect the individual to its own programs and services that may be helpful, as well as services offered by other organizations and providers in the community.