Every day at Akron Children’s, we strive to deliver compassionate care and create positive experiences for our patients and families. This month, we’re spotlighting Paige Peterson, MSW, LSW, a social worker who received the following feedback from a patient after a recent visit.
“Paige (Peterson), the social worker in the nephrology unit is my favorite on my health providing team. She always helps me with anything I need, whether it be a simple reminder to set up an appointment, just to tell me I am doing a good job, or help me in the most complex ways of handling insurance and being my advocate. I feel the safest with her and can always count on her for an answer. Even if it is not from her, she will point me in the right direction. One of the most important parts of our relationship to my health care is I feel respected by her. Never once has she made me feel embarrassed or ashamed or stupid. This is crucial in my health care, as I can lean on her to help me communicate my needs to other doctors if I don’t feel as comfortable, which makes my health care as amazing as it is. … There have been many times I just want to tell her “Hi.” I remember seeing her at the fair and being so excited and getting to hug her then. When I had my rejection process, she gave me a loving hug, which I had needed more than anything to soothe my fear. The hug I got was not one I get from home or my friends or most family even. I thought I had no one in my circle besides her. I have never felt excitement to see my health care providers the way I do her. She is more than my social worker, but true family to me.”
What’s your job title and how long have you worked at Akron Children’s?
I’m a social worker and have been with Akron Children’s for just shy of 4 years.
Reflecting on this patient experience and the feedback you received, how do you feel about it?
It really meant a lot. I have worked with this patient for several years and we have a good relationship, so it was really special for her to recognize the role I have played in her care and provide that positive feedback. It also represents our field well. As social workers, we may not see patients at every visit, so we don’t always have an opportunity to hear how we are making an impact.
How do you build that level of trust with your patients?
Building that level of trust starts with a lot of listening to both patients and their parents to find out what is going on in their lives and what we can do to support them. Being a good listener is also how we build rapport. Following through with them and keeping the lines of communication open is the quickest way to build that trust – whether that means popping in to say “Hi” when they are here for an appointment or just checking in to see how they are doing. That also helps to fill my cup back up, so it goes both ways.
What does patient- and family-centered care mean to you? How do you strive to deliver that care?
It is the center of what we do and an important piece of working with families. Taking what they say and considering the unique needs of each family enables us to deliver the best outcomes.
What do you most enjoy about your work at Akron Children’s?
Building lasting relationships with my patients – watching them grow up and seeing them hit milestones. Our department is also a big source of joy in the way we support one another and fuel the goodness.