March is Social Work Month
Social workers at Shepherd Center Take Pride in Their Profession
By Erma Freeman, MSW, LCSW, CCM
Shepherd Center Case Manager and Social Worker
The theme for this year’s Social Work Month, recognized every year in March, is “Social Workers Stand Up!” What does this mean to Shepherd Center’s social workers? This is a call to action for us to educate the public about the contributions of social workers and to proudly identify ourselves as social workers.
In the Shepherd Center Case Management Department, you will find employees with varied professional backgrounds. Several of us are licensed social workers who work throughout the continuum of care here. Social workers serve as access case managers, ICU case managers, inpatient case managers and post-acute case managers.
We are strong leaders in our individual areas of practice. As case managers, social workers at Shepherd Center serve as patient advocates, team leaders, discharge planners, counselors, etc. We are expected to know everything that goes on with our patients on a daily basis ranging from medical, treatment team and family issues to insurance challenges and discharge plans. Everything lands on the lap of the social work case manager. It is a very challenging, yet rewarding, job that allows us to use our expertise as social workers while also adhering to our Code of Ethics.
As case managers, social workers wear many hats and bring unique skill sets to the Shepherd Center Case Management Department. We are trained to value the dignity and self-worth of all human beings, to be true advocates, critical thinkers and to respect patient’s rights to self-determination, autonomy and responsibility. We use these skills on a daily basis and are not afraid to truly think outside the box in providing and promoting the best care and service to our patients and their families.
ERMA FREEMAN, MSW, LCSW, CCM, is a licensed social worker and a case manager for Shepherd Center's Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program.
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.