Avera Medical Minute: Social Workers - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Social Workers

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Megan Swier talks about her fight with cancer and how it's made her a better social worker at Avera McKennan. Megan Swier talks about her fight with cancer and how it's made her a better social worker at Avera McKennan.

Social workers are part of a multi-tasking team that provides comprehensive medical care. They are often the unsung heroes working behind the scenes for patients. We want to celebrate social workers by singing their praises.  We found one social worker who is good at her job because she knows what it's like to be on the other side in a hospital bed.

Megan Swier is a social worker at Avera McKennan Hospital. A job she says she was destined to do. Impressive as that is, her journey back to the hospital is even more amazing.

In August of 2001, right before the start of her senior year at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, Megan went to the doctor because she was tired, losing weight and not feeling right. She thought she had mono, but it turned out to be much much worse. She was diagnosed with AML Leukemia, which is rare in children.

Megan says, "I remember Dr. Hanna said yes it's cancer and I broke down. That was my main reaction and I remember a nurse in pediatrics grabbing my shoulder and saying this is not a death sentence. You can beat this. I was scared at points but I think having a positive attitude and having an amazing staff and friends and family around me gave me that push I needed."

Megan spent most of her senior year in the hospital with Avera Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Marwan Hanna.

Dr. Hanna says, "The doctor is a small part of it. We diagnose patients. We know the recipe of chemotherapy. We know the side effects and how to tackle them but the most important part is the patient and their desire to fight it."

Not only did Megan fight it, she survived it. She's been in remission for 7 years. She credits Dr. Hanna and the entire staff at Avera McKennan for wanting to get into social work and wanting to do it at Avera McKennan.

Megan says, "I had this amazing experience, it was tough, don't get me wrong. But now I can relate to other people knowing what it's like to be a patient in the hospital. Knowing it's not the best thing but good come from it. I want to give back to the people who gave me so much."

Dr. Hanna says, "Avera's mission is to help patients. Part of it, one of the vehicles, is social work. Another part is the Sisters and the administration. All of it all those units work with one objective in mind: To help patients."

From patient to patient advocate, that's exactly what Megan has in mind. 

Megan says social workers take some of the burden of paper work off patients so they can concentrate on getting better. They are also an ever present shoulder for patients to cry on.


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