March is recognized as National Social Work month. The theme of this month’s celebration is, “Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” This theme could not better represent our team of clinical social workers here at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. These selfless individuals put their patients first by providing support for the patient’s social, emotional and financial needs while undergoing treatment in the hospital.
This month we are spotlighting two members of our case management team, Niki Day and Gayla Patterson. Combined, Niki and Gayla have spent more than 30 years at Fort Sanders Regional advocating for hundreds of patients. Read about their passion for social work below:
What is your name?
Niki: My name is Niki Day and I am a clinical social worker in the ICU.
Gayla: My name is Gayla Patterson and I am a clinical social worker on the oncology floor.
Where are you from?
Niki: New Jersey
Gayla: Etowah, TN
How long have you worked at Fort Sanders Regional?
Niki: 15 years
Gayla: 22 years
Tell us a little bit about your job at Fort Sanders Regional?
We meet all patients as a team to help identify the patient’s needs and ensure a smooth transition to the next level of care.
What do you love most about your job?
Niki: I love the diversity of my role. Often it is the same problem, but they can affect people differently. Occasionally we encounter challenges that require us to think out of the box to find a solution. We do whatever we can to make sure the patient gets what they need.
Gayla: I love the satisfaction of helping patients, especially patients who are newly diagnosed and are faced with a lot of new needs and challenges. I find it satisfying to help them navigate the process.
What made you want to pursue a career as social worker?
Niki: The helping aspect of social work is what drove me to be a social worker. I enjoying serving as an advocate for people who can’t speak up for themselves.
Gayla: My mother was a hospice volunteer coordinator, so I saw how she cared for patients. My grandmother was diagnosed with T Cell Lymphoma, and in taking care of her I developed a passion for hospice care.
What is your favorite movie?
Niki: I have too many favorites to pick one.
Gayla: Out of Africa
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Niki: Something with sugar, but I especially love Peeps
Gayla: Dark chocolate sea salt caramels