Brittney Davis is one of two social workers in the Oncology Support Services (OSS) program at GBMC, who provide psychosocial and emotional support to patients and their families throughout the treatment process and beyond. An additional part-time social worker serves gynecologic oncology patients. GBMC does not charge for this care. Like the rest of the OSS program, this support is entirely dependent on generous donors.
What’s the best part of your day?
I really enjoy interacting with our patients. It really is the best part of my day because there are some things they may only talk with us about. They have that trust in us and that relationship. I get to know who they are and what they’ve done, beyond their diagnosis and treatment. I really enjoy their stories about families and friends.
What do you want people to know about social workers at the Sandra and Malcom Berman Cancer Institute?
Social workers give a lot but also gain a lot in the work we do. For me, being able to have patients trust me with our conversations and the tough discussions, it means a lot. I learn a lot from the work done with patients and take that to also evaluate where I am in life, my supports and family dynamics. There are patients I work with that literally make my heart smile. Patients know we are there to help them, but they do not always realize there are times they help us, and we look forward to their energy and time spent talking and counseling with them.
We do have tough moments. We’re helping them through a hard time, but also there to help remind them of hope and the goodness that is all around. In us, they have someone who can help them with the things that are personal and difficult.
For example, talking about Advance Directives with a patient who has an adult son. It’s important to help Mom make decisions about her care now, to guide her family if the time comes when she can’t speak for herself. But her son doesn’t want to bring it up. He worries his Mom will think he’s expecting the worst. I can step in and help.
What sets the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute apart?
We are able to build a more personal relationship with each patient. The way we are set up here makes it easier for patients to navigate our system. For example, we communicate with Integrative Medicine constantly. The way our Center is set up and the way we communicate between different disciplines – it all helps our patients. The new building will just enhance this. We’ll all be under one roof.
When you’re not working, what is your perfect day?
I’m usually up by 4:30 each morning, so laying in my bed until maybe 7:00 would be nice. But I have a dog at home, so I’m never later than that. I like being there for every one of my son’s activities, even all the running around that involves. I can’t really sit still because I’ll get bored.
There is not a lot of me time, but that’s OK. I wouldn’t know what to do. I like being able to say I can go here or go there at my leisure. With COVID, we haven’t been able to hang out with friends. I’m looking forward to warm weather and going up to Philly to be with friends.