The role of the pediatric oncology social worker is to help patients, families and caregivers deal with the experience of facing cancer. Our licensed clinical social workers are educated and skilled to assist with the psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual issues that often arise when a child is diagnosed with cancer.
UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology social workers can:
- help a child and his/her family cope from the moment of diagnosis through to the end of treatment, whether survivorship or palliative care
- help the family adjust to the diagnosis and the changes created in how they live their lives
- help family members by providing emotional support and counseling
- help the patients and family maintain a ‘new normal’ way of living
- help families navigate the medical system, helping to bridge connections between the family and the medical team
- help identify resources (emotional, supportive, and/or financial)
- help school-aged patients remain connected with school to decrease the impact of treatment on their social, emotional, and academic development
- help patients return to school successfully, when they are ready to return
- help families and children by advocating for their needs within the hospital and community setting
If you think you might want help in any of these areas, tell your doctor or nurse that you would like to meet with a pediatric oncology social worker.
The social work component of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology includes three clinical social workers, Francesca Ferretti, Jennifer St.Clair, and Lola Lin. Our oncology social workers complete a comprehensive psychosocial assessment with every family to identify potential barriers to care and to connect families with supportive resources. Our clinical social workers provide care to support the entire family system while they battle a child’s life-threatening illness. These services are available to families in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.
Jennifer St. Clair
Valentina Varela Munoz