Thursday, November 19, 2009

Emergency Room

I work in the emergency room as a social worker. The one at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where I was born- I have come full circle:) I really enjoy my job and I am grateful for it. People sometimes ask me what I do there:

1. I get to do crisis evaluations. This means if someone comes in who is feeling suicidal, having a psychotic episode, or having a manic episode, I talk to them for an hour or so and we decide if they need to be hospitalized or not. This can be very interesting! A woman almost kissed me once (she was manic at the time. I was able to dodge!). One man was in a somewhat catatonic state- he had schizophrenia- and was mute. A man told me yesterday that he is Jesus Christ. So, you know, lotsa crazy stuff going on. And, of course, it can be very sad. Abuse happens. Addictions destroy potential. When mental illness becomes severe, it is a huge loss to the family. Life can be very hard. Overall, it can be a heavy job, but very rewarding too. People struggle, like all of us- and I get to help them:)

2. I also work with families in trauma situations. So when someone comes in with severe injuries from an accident or anything, I work with their family. I have to be there right away when the patient arrives from the ambulance/helicopter. This is so I know what to tell the family. It's also so I can ask the patient who they'd like me to call.

Now, I am NOT a blood/gore kind of person. Therefore I spend much of my time in the trauma rooms looking at the floor, the ceiling, or the back of my eyelids. And I definitely have lost my appetite on several occasions! Only once so far have I had to help a family through a death when there was a death in a car accident. That was hard, but more intuitive than expected.

That's what I do! It is kind of heavy stuff, but I like it. Am I weird? On a positive note, I've had magical moments with patients where they are finally asking for help and ready to change. And there's nothing quite like connecting with someone at a really human level, which I get to do every day at my job. So I think I'm a very lucky woman.


  1. it is a great feeling knowing you are helping people. I love my job but it is not for everyone. I don't do so well on the break downs. I will handle the blood and gore you handle the break downs. Love ya gil glad everything is going good for you . Jeneal

  2. I know you are an awesome social worker and have always been very intuitive at helping people! I wish I was still in Provo and could see you in action!

  3. That is fascinating, Tessa! Thank you for the glimpse into the life of a social worker :) I hope you are doing wonderfully well! I'm glad I found your blog!

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