Celebrating Kim Hobbs as she retires after a 29-year career in social work at Westmead Hospital

Kim Hobbs is retiring from her role as Clinical Specialist Social Worker at Westmead Hospital after nearly three remarkable decades of hard work and commitment.

Starting work over 29 years ago at Westmead Hospital’s Department of Gynaecological Cancer, Kim has been an integral member of the team since its establishment in November 1994.

An avid advocate for cancer patients experiencing financial challenge, Kim took time to speak with The Pulse to reflect upon her career.

It’s been a real privilege to be able to help women who have a lot of other things going on in their lives apart from their cancer diagnosis.

It is this empathy and compassion that has been a driving force throughout Kim’s time in healthcare and has kept her passion for social work alive.

Through dedication and belief she has built a comprehensive career that has significantly impacted the lives of hundreds of patients and care givers across western Sydney.

“I think social work in oncology has a very strong place as part of a multidisciplinary team,” she said.

“And I’ve been fortunate to work with some excellent other disciplines, nursing staff who are here, and radiotherapy, as well as medical .”

This focus on teamwork and building a collaborative environment was clear to see at Kim’s retirement farewell, where colleagues gathered for morning tea. Balloons and photos lined the walls while memories were shared as people came together to celebrate, all of which was taken in by Kim as she remarked heartfully:

I’ve made a lot of friendships along the way, which I’ll take with me.

In addition to her clinical work, Kim’s passion has also led her to involvement in working parties and committees with chief cancer stakeholders to develop guidelines, policies, and educational materials.

In 2023, Kim was the recipient of the Allied Health Professional of the Year at Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Allied Health Awards. This acknowledged her involvement in representing Oncology Social Work Australia New Zealand (OSWANZ) on a Financial Toxicity in a Cancer Care working group.

Kim is proud to have been involved in the group’s achievements – which includes two published journal articles and an evidence-based roadmap launched at COSA’s annual scientific meeting in Melbourne.

While Kim is saying farewell to her career in social work, her devotion to the field remains and she wishes to inspire a new generation to the field.

Health is a high-pressure area for social work but at the same time, that’s what the challenge is and what makes it rewarding – to be able to, make a difference in the lives of women who are doing it tough – speak up and get involved in things to raise your profile.

As Kim begins this new chapter in her life, she will leave with her the lasting impact of her passion and dedication to social work in oncology and be remembered as a champion in her field.