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Q&A: Medical Social Worker Shares Five Essential Qualities for Compassionate Patient Care


What’s in a name? Faith Manning is well suited for hers. As a medical social worker, she provides her patients and their families with comfort and compassion, requiring faith in her abilities and their hope for recovery. This is especially important for those transitioning from the hospital to home. 

Because Faith puts her patients and their families first, it’s imperative she also sets time aside from herself, something she did just last year with a cross-country road trip in her Subaru Outback. Read on to learn more about the most challenging and rewarding aspects of her profession, as well as her road trip agenda (we promise: it’s swoon-worthy).

What’s the role of a social worker in a hospital setting like?

The role of a medical social worker is to facilitate the transition of patients from the hospital setting to rehab, skill nursing facility or transportation home. Discharge planning begins early as we must coordinate family, community and social resources for the patient to hopefully achieve a successful transition to a less medically intrusive environment. Social workers also provide emotional support and comfort to families and patients. [They also] provide patients with community resources for housing, food, mental health, medical/dental and social [services] when needed.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts about your job?

The most challenging is when patients repeatedly utilize the hospital for social services and I can’t help them. The most rewarding part is when I consciously slow myself down from trying to please all people at the same time; silence my Blackberry and come into my patients with all of me and the patient feels it. [It’s] awesome.

Which qualities would you are essential to be a social worker?

Love for mankind, patience, empathy, compassion, wisdom.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your line of work?

Get to know yourself and your uniqueness first, [and] then you can appreciate the uniqueness of others.

Which model Subaru do you drive? Where did you buy it?

[I drive] a Subaru Outback [that I bought] from Shortline Subaru [in] Aurora, CO

Has your Subaru made your life easier?

Last summer, I flew to Colorado where my daughter attends school. I purchased my Subaru and we went on a cross-country road trip through Utah’s Delicate Arches, White Sand Dunes in New Mexico, Hamilton Poole in Austin, Texas, The Big Easy, and Stone Mountain in Georgia. [There were] many stops along the way, sleeping and eating out of the Subaru. I drove most of the 4,300 miles and it is such a great driving car. My Subaru reminds me each day to enjoy the ride.

Has there been a moment where your career in healthcare and being an owner of a Subaru has intersected?

Working in health care, I see the tenacity of many people fight to bring their bodies back to their sense of normalcy and good health. Owning a Subaru reminds me to enjoy every precious moment.

Subaru supports and thanks the entire medical community in the Greater Philadelphia area. Read more about their Subaru love stories. For more information about finding the right ride for you, click here.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.