Helping terminal patients make tough choices
Almost three years ago, Sue Cardona MSW '07 joined the Department of Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y. After 18 months, she became a palliative care social worker in the Department of Family and Social Medicine. As part of an interdisciplinary team, Sue works with patients and their families to discuss goals of care when faced with a life-limiting illness. She also provides bereavement support to patients' families after their loved one has died.
"The hospital system is complex, and having an understanding of how it works is one way I can advocate for and with patients and their families," Sue says. "I see myself as an agent of change one patient at a time," she adds. "As my career develops, I hope I become an agent of change beyond the hospital walls."
Helping people through difficult times has always been Sue's intent. She initially thought it would be through psychology, but something was missing. "While I value my undergraduate degree in psychology, it left me asking questions about socioeconomic status, policy and how to implement social change," she explains. "The search for answers to these questions led me directly to social work."
And her search for the right program to earn her MSW brought Sue to Binghamton.
"Binghamton University is well known for its academic excellence, and I was interested in the advanced generalist curriculum," she explains. Sue was impressed with the availability and flexibility of her instructors and the variety of field placements to choose from. "Not to mention, it all came at a financial cost I could manage," she adds.
But it's the program's curriculum that really stands out, according to Sue. "Studying from an advanced generalist practice curriculum has been the foundation of my career," she says. "After four years in the field, I still refer to my education and field experiences and apply them to my current work."