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Area social workers talk about stress of the past year

It's been a tough year for so many of us, including social workers in hospitals coping with COVID-19. Newswatch 16's Sarah Buynovsky shares some of their stories.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — It has been a tough year for so many, including social workers in hospitals who have been coping with COVID-19 and worried patients.

“Every day is a new challenge, you know it’s kind of what are we going to walk into today, how many patients are we going to be there?" said Chris Grassi, a social worker for Geisinger CMC in Scranton.

They said they are trying to help patients and their families with sickness and fear about not only COVID-19 but other health concerns, too, all while trying to protect themselves.

This past year has brought longer hours, new ways to try to communicate and reach.

“We’re so used to being at the bedside with the patients and having that one on one human interaction and taking that away from us was like a cinderblock, so it was like ‘Wow. What do we do now?’ So we had to kind of pick up everything that we did and restart with our patients and families and connect with them through virtual and telephone communication, and that was hard," said Stephanie Synoski of Geisinger Wyoming Valley.

This past year has also brought a lot of stress and emotion.

“It definitely takes a toll on you emotionally, you know, we’re dealing with a population one of the most vulnerable populations as social workers, and it’s been hard not having families here at their bedside, it’s been heartbreaking," said social worker Jenna Hampton of Geisinger Medical Center Danville.

Despite the challenges this past year has brought, the workers we said they also have a renewed appreciation for their work.

 “At the end of all this, whenever that may be, I feel proud to do that I do. We’ve definitely had some dark days, but I feel proud of the work we've been able to do as a team, the barriers that we’ve crossed," added Hampton.