Social Work Month: Meet Kayleen Jones
March is National Professional Social Work Month, and Riley Children’s Foundation appreciates this opportunity to celebrate our donor-supported team of social workers at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
These dedicated professionals help families cope with the wide variety of challenges that can arise during their child’s hospitalization, easing their burdens so they can focus on their child’s health.
Today, it’s a pleasure to introduce you to one of Riley’s social workers, Kayleen Jones, MSW, LSW, who works with pulmonary patients on Riley Hospital’s 8th floor.
Q: What is your message to Riley Children’s Foundation donors who support social work at Riley?
A: Every penny you provide helps our families get access to the resources they need, which reduces their stress and allows them to provide love and support to their sick child. The money that is provided to our program helps our families in such a great way.
Q: Can you share a bit about your background and how you were drawn to the social work field?
A: There are many reasons that drew me to social work, and I will share the two that have influenced me the most. My mom has been a director at a nonprofit agency serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities since before I was born, so in a way I was born into social work. I was involved with these individuals my whole life and I really enjoyed helping others. I knew I wanted to be in social work from a young age.
I was drawn to Riley after spending many days and nights with my best friend in the hospital while she battled leukemia for over two years. I got to know Riley and the staff very well during that time. I fell in love with how caring all the staff were, all of help they provided during a difficult time, and how happy of a place Riley was during some of the worst times in a child’s life. At this time I began planning for my future career and knew I wanted to be a medical social worker. I got my Masters in Social Work from the Indiana University School of Social Work. When I was in grad school I had my internship in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Emergency Department at Riley. I quickly knew I wanted to be a part of the Social Work team here. I was fortunate enough to get a job as a social worker right out of grad school.
Q: What are some things you do with patients and families in a “typical” day?
A: Some of my typical roles as a social worker are to provide emotional support during difficult times, provide resources to break down barriers to medical care and the child’s development, and help with care coordination among the medical team and family.
Q: What do find most rewarding about being a Social Worker?
A: What I find most rewarding about being a social worker is the hugs I get from families who are thankful for the support I have provided them!
Q: Is there an example of a family for whom your work made a dramatic impact?
A: The most impactful experience I have had as a social worker at Riley was with a refugee family. The patient and his family moved to Indiana a couple of months prior to me meeting with them. They had many barriers in the way of getting good medical care and I was able to work closely with them to break down several barriers they came across. I was able to connect them with numerous community resources, assist with medical education, and provide support to them during this time. Due to this I was able to help the family and patient be successful.
Q: Any fun facts about you that you’d like to share?
A: I love to craft in my free time, and I also love to travel and see new places! My favorite type of vacation is cruising. I also love to be outside with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. My husband and I are high school sweethearts and we graduated from our MSW program together.
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