The Pulse interviewed Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, after she was recently recognised as Allied Health Professional of the Year at Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Allied Health Awards.
Health was a clear career progression from the beginning for Kim, who has been a cornerstone of Westmead Hospital’s Department of Gynaecological Cancer since its establishment in November 1994.
“At the time of graduating with my social work degree, my employment of choice was in health,” Kim told The Pulse.
“I love the fact that social workers can work alongside our medical, nursing, and other allied health colleagues to provide comprehensive assessment and care, taking a ‘whole of person’ approach.
“It’s so important to see the patient in the context of their family and social circumstances in order to better assess the impact of their health condition and to individualise care, support, referral to services and follow up.”
Kim finds the most reward in multidisciplinary planning and conversations that optimise the care of patients to provide the best outcomes, especially in the context of gynaecological cancer, where she acknowledges the devastating impact of a diagnosis.
“Teamwork is essential to improve outcomes, even in challenging situations,” she said.
“We can’t change the diagnosis but we can provide services and interventions to acknowledge the impact of the illness and to work together to as a team to improve outcomes.
“For social workers, the emphasis is always on the patient and their caregivers.
“As a social worker, I can help give a voice to the people who will bear the responsibility of care outside the hospital setting.”
Kim’s recent project involves representing Oncology Social Work Australia New Zealand (OSWANZ) on a Financial Toxicity in Cancer Care working group.
“Even in a largely ‘free’ health care system as we have in Australia, there are many direct and indirect costs that are borne by the individual,” Kim said.
She’s is particularly proud of the group’s work, including two published journal articles and an evidence-based roadmap launched at COSA’s annual scientific meeting in Melbourne, and is passionate about encouraging advocacy for cancer patients’ financial challenges.
“It has been a privilege to have had such a long career developing skills and expertise in gynaecological cancer and in oncology social work.
“With the support of many people, and in particular the gynaecological cancer tam, I have been able to pursue my interests and passions to represent this district in important national and international working groups, committees and research.”
Kim Hobbs’s dedication to compassionate care and advocacy continues to shape the landscape of gynaecological cancer care at Western Sydney Local Health District, embodying the spirit of excellence and commitment.
Read more about WSLHD’s Allied Health Award winners here.