Excellence and compassion earn a lifetime achievement award
FRIDLEY, Minn. 06/29/2007--
Brenda Verbick, director of Social Services of Mercy & Unity Hospitals, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
A patient needs a nursing home. A family needs an ethics discussion. A victim needs counseling. Sometimes, staff members need debriefing after a traumatic event.
At the center of these situations is the hospital social worker. Brenda Verbick, a 25-year-veteran in the field, was recognized this month by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Verbick, who is director of Social Services at Mercy & Unity Hospitals, was nominated by leaders in the hospitals and the community. They praised her work to enhance patients’ experiences by improving processes and communication at all levels of care.
"Brenda provides excellent leadership at Mercy and Unity by effectively using her expertise and relationship influence specific to topics such as patient rights, discharge planning, child abuse and vulnerable adult issues, patient advocacy and ethics," wrote nominators Sherri Abrahamson-Baty, director of Patient Care Support for Mercy Hospital and Sharon Carlson, director of Patient Care Support for Unity Hospital.
"She makes a positive difference in the lives of the patients she serves, and to all who work with her," wrote Mary Cole, a nurse with OptionCare, a Roseville-based pharmacy and infusion service company.
Verbick was instrumental in arranging medical care, housing and community support for a Liberian torture victim in 2005 at Mercy Hospital, a complicated case that involved about 40 staff members. When the patient returned to thank the staff, Verbick said at the time, "It was heartwarming to see a complex medical system and community come together to meet the needs of the patient in a coordinated, collaborative response of both clinical care and human caring."
Verbick finds it hard to identify the most important part of her job. "I think it’s helping people normalize their experiences in the health-care system and connecting them to resources. Whether I’m working with staff, patients or our community partners, my goal is to make sure everyone has what they need to deliver and receive health care as smoothly as possible."
Mercy Hospital and Unity Hospital, located in Coon Rapids and Fridley are non-profit hospitals that serve the northwestern Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and provided care to more than 288,000 people in 2006. The hospitals respond to a wide range of health needs with specialty services including behavioral health services, cancer care, heart and vascular services, orthopedics, neurosciences, and women's and children's services.
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