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Social worker Jones thrives on helping patients, families

Mar. 16, 2017, 10:08 AM

Stacy Jones has always had a strong desire to help others, a trait she puts to good use as a social worker on the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Editor’s note —
This is the second in a series of profiles on some of Vanderbilt’s most dedicated employees. All VUMC faculty and staff are encouraged to attend Celebrate — The difference YOU make every day on April 20 or 21 at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium. Please sign up for one of three sessions at

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry” reads a sign next to the door as you exit Stacy Jones’ office on the 8th floor of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital (VUAH).

As a social worker on the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at Vanderbilt, the sign’s wording fits Jones’ personality.

“I have always felt the need to help people. Just ask my parents,” she said grinning. “Even they say I have always been a people person.

“I feel very strongly about what I do at Vanderbilt. I see families usually at their worst. They are experiencing something very traumatic. Our medical staff cares for our patients and a lot of the times their families need help to make this experience less painful.

“That is where I come in,” Jones said

Whether it is holding the hand of a family member while receiving life-altering news about a loved one or finding resources for lodging or food, Jones is at the ready to assist.

For the past two years, Jones, a licensed master’s social worker, has worked in the MICU with pulmonary services and the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic.

“On our floor we can have three families experiencing the same event, but each of them will handle it completely differently and have very different needs. As a social worker, we must adapt to every family’s need and meet them where they are. And I like that, because it helps me to grow as well. Social work is a great fit for me.”

Every day Jones reviews her consult list — the patients and families referred to her by the medical teams from her specialty areas.

Julie Foss, MSN, R.N., MICU manager, remembers a typical story involving Jones. The staff affectionately refers to the multitude of these encounters involving Jones as “Stacy stories.”

“Our unit board meetings are late in the evenings,” recalled Foss. “Here was Stacy, at the nurse’s station with a 5-year-old playing Go Fish. The little boy had come with a group visiting a dying patient. He did not want to go into the room, but the person with him did. This was well past the time that Stacy usually goes home, but there she was keeping him company.

“It’s just who she is. It’s what she does. She won’t see this as extraordinary, but our staff recognizes that she goes above and beyond. She has our patients and their families as her primary focus and she makes sure we are giving our patients our best as well.

“She is a great resource for us and we are lucky to have her,” Foss said.

Jones, who is married with a 16-year-old son, spends much of her time away from work attending sporting events for her son, engulfed in DIY projects for her home and gardening.

She said she works hard to represent her profession in a good light, with the thought of treating others as she would want to be treated.

“We are all so caught up in our lives,” Jones said. “I always try to smile at someone. You never know what a person is going through, whether it’s a staff member, a patient or a visitor. The smallest thing, like a smile, can make a huge difference in their day.

“I love what I do,” Jones said. “The genuine smile and heartfelt thank you from patients and families is the motivator behind it all.

“Knowing I was able to make the slightest impact on what could be one of the most stressful times of their lives pushes me to be the best that I can be.”

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