Halley Robinson, LCSW, Thoracic Oncology
When a patient receives a diagnosis of lung cancer, Halley Robinson is often there to help provide guidance and support as the patient and their family processes the news and determines how best to move forward. As a Clinical Social Worker in Thoracic Oncology, Halley meets with patients throughout the entire span of their cancer journey, from the newly-diagnosed to those currently in treatment, as well as individuals who are transitioning to end-of-life care. Through it all, she considers it to be a privilege to be included in each family's journey.
A Clinical Social Worker is an integral part of the interdisciplinary team that cares for each patient. They can serve as a liaison, help navigate a complicated medical system, and perhaps most importantly, they provide emotional support to both patients and family members as they face significant stressors associated with their health. Halley emphasizes that a clinical social worker is a good person to have in a patient's corner, regardless of which point they are at in their disease process. "There are unique stressors associated with each phase of a cancer diagnosis. As social workers, we're available to support patients through the victories, moments of stability, and challenges, often when they and their families are at their most vulnerable."
Halley always knew she wanted to work in mental health to provide support and be a voice for those who feel isolated or overwhelmed. As the co-facilitator of the Lung Cancer Support Group, Halley works with individuals who are coming in with a new diagnosis, as well as those who have been managing their disease for several years. "Group is helpful in showing patients the variability in how people cope with their cancer, while also normalizing the thoughts and feelings an individual can experience in relation to their diagnosis. People shouldn't feel alone in their thinking. I want my group-as well as those who do not attend-to know that it's okay. Their feelings, whatever they are, are okay."
After joining Smilow Cancer Hospital nearly two years ago, she finds herself amongst a strong group of colleagues who are driven to perform at the top of their game. "I am very lucky to have such strong relationships with both my interdisciplinary team members in thoracic oncology, as well as my social work colleagues in our oncology cluster. I think the work that we come together in to best meet the needs of our patients and families here at Smilow is invaluable."