Parkland Health Center recently announced Amanda Leftridge, MSW, LCSW, was selected as the Our BJC Values Employee for July 2021. Leftridge is a licensed clinical social worker in Parkland’s Cancer and Infusion Center and has worked at PHC for 2 years.
Leftridge's nomination reads in part, “She is an invaluable asset to both her coworkers and patients. Every day, Amanda comes to work with a great attitude and is eager to help everyone. She works together with the staff to continuously provide the best patient care and seamlessly juggles many roles and responsibilities within our department. Amanda gives each patient and their families her undivided attention and listens to all their needs. She coordinates transportation services to ensure patients can make their appointments, and she has been instrumental in assisting patients obtain free or discounted medications. She also works with other departments and organizations to provide funding for nutritional and other supplies for patients.”
“I felt both surprised and blessed. I work with an amazing team of healthcare professionals in Oncology, all of whom deserve this same recognition," Leftridge said about being recognized. “To know that my team took their time to nominate me is an honor. I appreciate each of them and could not provide what I do for patients without their very own passion and dedication to our department.”
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Leftridge didn’t begin her career in social work. “I didn’t return to college for social work until I was 35,” she said. “At that time, I was a 15-year employee in the field of hemodialysis, working as a technician.”
While working to provide direct patient care, Leftridge found her passion for tending to her patients’ emotional and psychosocial needs arising during diagnosis and treatment. “I found myself wanting to ensure patients and families were not suffering from things like socioeconomic barriers that may be affecting their treatment outcomes and causing further distress,” she said. That focus led her to pursue a master’s degree in social work. While this took her a step back from direct patient care, it allowed her to be the primary advocate for her patients.
Leftridge found her calling in “helping patients through a difficult time and being at their side as both a guide and a compassionate listener, in hopes of meeting needs that would change their experience and bettering outcomes.”
As an oncology social worker, Leftridge tries to help alleviate patients' and families' social, financial, and psychological hardships related to cancer diagnosis and treatments. She gives them support and helps them with coping skills needed to manage illness, fully understand their diagnosis, and provide them with resources available for cancer care and treatment. “Choosing social work and continuing to use those skills in the field of medicine has been the most fulfilling role that I have served in my career,” she said. “I enjoy being an advocate for patients and their families and knowing that what I do daily makes a difference in the lives of others who may be facing difficult times in illness, trauma or unexpected diagnosis. I also enjoy working for an organization who provides a cohesive work environment that allows for optimal patient focus and care.”