As an Oncology Social Worker for the Radiation Department at Smilow Cancer Hospital, Denise Armstrong communicates with and is there for patients’ from their initial visit to their final day of treatment. She provides emotional support to patients and families as they cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Most patients are referred to Denise by a receptionist, nurse, or physician that has identified a need for support. Denise also performs what she calls a ‘meet and greet’ with new patients and their families where she introduces herself, assesses their risk for any stressors they may be experiencing, and makes them aware that she is there to help. “I try to explain the different roles that the social worker has, and that we are there to support them and their family and help them cope. We also offer assistance with any outside resources they may require,” said Denise.
Denise co-facilitates three different support groups at Yale. One is for prostate cancer, one is for radiation therapy, and one is a general patient and family support group that takes place at the Yale-New Haven Shoreline Medical Center. She also does outreach with community groups if there is a patient having housing or financial issues and needs someone to talk with.
Bonnie Indeck, LCSW, Manager of Oncology Social Work at Smilow Cancer Hospital, and Denise’s manager, commented, “Denise exemplifies service excellence and demonstrates high quality clinical skills. She is always available and goes above and beyond to make sure that patients and families get what they need.”