In May, the Saint Francis Foundation began featuring the amazing Saint Francis Memorial Hospital staff at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julie Maxson, LCSW
Manager, Care Coordination
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital
Q. What is most challenging about your work during this current crisis?
A. Finding resources for homeless patients. All the shelters and drop-in centers have been closed to referrals, and many of our homeless are displaced with nowhere to go. This population already had such limited access to support before COVID hit, and now things have become dire for them. Fortunately, I work with an incredibly talented and dedicated team of nurse case managers and social workers, and they are all over this.
Also, on a personal note, keeping my glasses from constantly fogging up with this mask is a challenge.
Q. Why do you do what you do?
A. I have been a social worker my entire professional career. I would volunteer to do it if they didn’t pay me! It is such a privilege to advocate for the vulnerable, to provide assistance to those in need, to search out resources and options that are not obvious. Social work involves a lot of creativity, agility, persistence, detective work, persuasion, critical thinking… No two days are the same and you always get to solve new problems—which means you are always learning.
Q. Speaking of learning, what are you learning from this unprecedented situation?
A. I am getting very comfortable with all the unknowns. Like many folks, my personal coping strategy is to get as much reliable and accurate information as possible (shout out to This Week in Virology podcast!), and we learn more new things about this virus, including many confounding things, all the time.
Q. What do you feel most hopeful about right now?
A. I am grateful every day to be where I am. Our local leadership has been outstanding – our governor, our Bay Area mayors, and our hospital leadership have taken COVID seriously from the very beginning. We have an infectious disease doctor as our CMO (Chief Medical Officer)! I feel completely confident that we are responding to this crisis with the latest and most relevant information, and the fact that the Bay Area has essentially “flattened the curve” for this current outbreak gives me a great deal of hope that we can respond to subsequent chapters of the COVID crisis effectively.