March is Social Work Month
Social work interns highlight experience
Working with MUSC medical, nursing and health professional students and
staff, University of South Carolina interns help patients and
their families find resources for services, or to pay for medical care
expenses. These interns spend 16-plus hours a week as part of their
graduate social work degree program. They help to provide support to
isolated patients, and guidance to patients and families facing
incredible odds and confusion.
Social work interns are Elizabeth Britt, from right, Jeremy Koenemann and Julia Grimm.
In celebration of Social Work Month in March, the interns praise the
professionals who work quietly and selflessly to provide assistance to
patients who often are overwhelmed and helpless.
USC social work intern profiles
Coldwater, Mich., native, Jeremy Koenemann has been working at Hollings
Cancer Center under the direction of Elena Bell. He founded the
Young-Adult Cancer Network which has received attention and support
from the I’m Too Young for This organization (http://www.i2y.org). This
network meets every other week for trivia nights and to volunteer at
cancer agencies. Koenemann chose this field because he is devoted to
the needs of cancer patients, caregivers and the profession of social
work. Koenemann earned a bachelor’s in social work from Michigan State
University, got married and moved to Charleston where he is an advanced
standing student at USC. He expects to earn his master’s in social work
(MSW) within a year.
from Marion, Elizabeth Britt has been interning at the Heart &
Vascular Center, Ashley River Tower, under the supervision of Beverly
Lavoie. Britt also has served as a financial counselor for Patient
Access Services for five years and helped uninsured and underinsured
patients obtain financial assistance for hospital services. She also
has helped locate resources for patients to obtain affordable
medicines, and works with social workers and nurse case managers
on disability and Medicaid referrals. As an intern and MUSC employee,
Britt has gained experience working with clinical staff, and has
witnessed clinical and financial staff provide optimal care to
patients. Britt received her journalism degree from Winthrop University
and is a part-time MSW student at USC graduating in May. Her social
work interests are gerontology, hospice, international social work and
Ind., native Julia Grimm has been working in the emergency department
(ED) under the supervision of Stephanie Power. Her work in the ED
includes conducting independent assessments, providing crisis
intervention therapy and collaborating with staff on treatment planning
for patients. Having worked this year with such issues as domestic
violence, substance abuse, financial stressors, continued medical care,
mental health and child abuse, Grimm’s experience at MUSC provides her
with important knowledge and skills. Her other experience includes
working as a counselor for the United Way 211 Hotline, volunteering as
a counselor for Camp Happy Days, and volunteering as a victim advocate
with People Against Rape. She moved to Charleston five years ago after
graduating with honors from Charleston Southern University with a
Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. Currently a full-time first
year MSW student at USC, Grimm will graduate in May 2010.
After graduation, Koenemann, Britt (class of 2009) and Grimm (2010)
will pursue their social work careers equipped with the depth and
experienced gained from working at MUSC, and with physicians, nurses,
staff and students.
Social workers reach out to others in health care
by Jeremy Koenemann
Social Work Intern
For the past 25 years, March has served as a time to spotlight social
work professionals who have assisted millions of individuals, groups
and families in such fields as health care, adoption, corrections,
child welfare and mental health.
At MUSC and across the nation, this month celebrates the profession and
those who share their calling toward service, integrity and social
MUSC is host to several social workers and a few students each year
that serve to reduce hospital expenditures, promote the wellbeing of
clients, advocate for patient rights, and serve many specialized units
from oncology to pediatrics. These workers also provide support group
services and other community referrals as needed.
The National Association of Social Workers is encouraging members of
the community to heed a calling to advancing social justice. More
committed people are needed to help in child welfare, hospitals, armed
forces, mental health and many other settings. Anyone inspired by these
missions should contact their local college/university and ask for
information about becoming a social worker.
Simply stated, “Social work; help starts here.” I, along with my fellow
interns from the University of South Carolina, extend thanks to the
MUSC social work staff and those in the greater Charleston area who
worked with us.
Friday, March 27, 2009