On a recent night in the Emergency Department (ED), my Social Work colleagues Rebecca Moverman, Janna Levi and I were working to identify resources for a patient who had experienced domestic violence. She came to the ED with her young child, and we were determined to help them find a safe place to stay until the morning, when we could connect her with the Passageway program.
Between the three of us, we spent five hours trying to find an available shelter. Unfortunately, we could find not one to accommodate them.
After exhausting all other options, I spoke with the ED charge nurse, Cindy Nehiley. I cannot find the words to fully express how incredibly grateful I am that she was on shift that evening. She was extremely supportive, and I had no doubt that we were working together to find a safe place for this family to spend the night.
Cindy took the lead in speaking with the ED flow manager and nursing supervisor. She was able to get us all together on a call, where we spoke about what we had tried so far and the barriers we were unable to work through. With the nursing supervisor’s approval, the patient was able to stay the night in the ED with her child. And as one additional gesture of genuine kindness, Cindy assigned herself as the nurse to care for this patient and her little one.
This is what our work is all about. It is knowing that we are here to support our patients together as a team with compassion and empathy. It is not always easy, but, in the end, we do what is right for our patients and support each other every step of the way.
Andrea Johnson, MSW, LICSW
Director, Social Work