Dad’s Illness Inspires Daughter to Study Social Work at Magee

Vanessa Masciantonio is one of Magee’s newest interns, working in our Case Management Department. She has a very important reason for pursuing her next career: her dad. Vanessa’s father was diagnosed with ALS three years ago. Caring for him full-time inspired Vanessa to study hospital social work. Today on the blog, she describes her feelings as she begins her internship.



Vanessa Masciantonio

The motivation I have for helping others is the driving force in my life. Living in a society in which we have become accustomed to accessibility and availability of resources can mask the reality of the many who do not have the basics with which to sustain quality of life. As a hospital social worker, I view the opportunity to make an immediate, positive impact in the life of an individual, and their family, as one of the unique benefits of the job. Social work and case management services are designed to assist patients in navigating through the healthcare environment. Many issues outside of a patient’s medical care can impact the patient’s ability to maximize progress towards achieving independence.

The department where I am an intern helps to coordinate all the services that are needed to arrange for therapy, assist in financial matters, and educate patients and families on their disability. I also really enjoy working in fast-paced environment, where many important decisions that will make a significant advancement in a patient’s life and recovery are made every day. I find it rewarding being a member of a health care team that applies the “person-in-environment” perspective, which incorporates all the factors that influence a patient’s health care experience.

I have always had a strong desire to work in a profession that could make a difference in people’s lives. With the career goal to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an Art Therapist, my dream will become a reality, and I will have the enormous potential to make a difference in the quality of others’ lives. Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy and are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art. Art can be utilized in treatment, assessment, and research. [National requirements for professional entry into the practice of art therapy include, at minimum, a master’s degree and extensive post-graduate clinical experience under the supervision of credentialed art therapists—a process which typically requires a minimum of four years. To learn more about Art Therapy, click here.]

I am also deeply interested in cutting-edge medical interventions, and at Magee, I am amazed at the amount of medical technology that is available to our patients to help them along in their recovery. Magee provides state-of-the-art technology for use by inpatients and outpatients, as well as at home after discharge. The mission of Magee Rehabilitation is “to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing high quality physical and cognitive rehabilitation services” and, as a student intern here, I share in that mission, as well as the values and traits of all Magee staff members. As a student intern at Magee, I am learning about how to deliver value through the acronym “REACH”: Respect, Excellence, Attitude, and Collaboration.

To learn more about volunteering or interning at Magee, click here

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