March is National Social Work Month! - New Mexico VA Health Care System
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March is National Social Work Month!

Phillip Myton, a social worker with the VA Day Treatement Center in Little Rock Arkansas, speaks with Veteran

Phillip Myton, a social worker with the VA Day Treatment Center in Little Rock Arkansas. talks with Veteran Tommy McGoogan while he and other homeless wait on the Stew Pot to open and serve lunch in Little Rock, Arkansas

By Ron Bassford, NMVAHCS Public Affairs Specialist
Monday, March 11, 2019

March is National Social Work Month! The theme for March 2019 is ELEVATE! Social Workers assigned to the New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS) live this model every day because they work in a system that allows them to elevate their clinical services to meet Veteran needs.

 Like all social workers, the Behavioral Health Social Worker wears many hats. “Here at the NMVAHCS, our social workers meet individually with patients, assess, gathers Bio-psycho-social-spiritual data and help with the formation of a treatment plan,” said Pamela Mariglia, NMVAHCS, BHCL Social Work Program Coordinator. Mariglia also pointed out that social workers run groups, intervene when a Veteran has a crisis, meet with families, counsel, address addiction and other issues which conflict with healthy living. “You will even find some of our social workers going out to the homes of mentally fragile Veterans, just to help them learn coping skills in their own environment,’ added Mariglia.

 Social Workers often choose the career of Social Work because of who they are. They are multitaskers with big hearts who have an uncanny ability to assess, treat and case manage all at the same time! In the NMVAHCS you will find Social Workers in many different areas to include Social Work Service (SWS), Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC), Behavioral Health Care Line (BHCL), Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and Polytrauma.

 When Mariglia was asked what being a social worker meant to her she said, “Being a Social Worker gives me the opportunity to impact people’s lives for their ultimate good. It all allows me to come alongside others and help them think through their struggles, gain new perspectives, and recognize their own strength and act on their own behalf. There is no other profession that I personally would have found more fulfilling.”

 Even though Social Workers in the NMVAHCS all work in different areas and provide a variety to different services to our Veterans, we all have basic competencies in the abilities to complete assessments, diagnosis, treatment plans, as well as Advance Directives for health care. We also share the same Code of Ethics and Values which is a paramount part of our practice. Some of our practice areas are described below:

 SWS is home to Social Workers in Transition Care Management (TCM), Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV), HUDVASH, Emergency Department, PACT, Inpatient Medicine and Surgery, and Specialty care for Hematology/Oncology, Geriatrics, and Renal.

 Social Workers are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They seek to meet the Veteran right where they are and to help them establish the best goals for fuller, richer healthy living. Our New Mexico VA Social Workers are rock stars; who choose to ELEVATE their contribution to the wellbeing of Veterans each minute they are here! Please take the time to thank the Social Workers you work with in your area for what they do to care for our Veterans and their Caregivers. If you have more questions about what a Social Worker does, please ask one, we are more than happy to share our knowledge, skills, and abilities to help all of those around us.

 Happy Social Work Month!

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