That’s what a social worker does


  • Dana Davis Youngstown State University
  • Patricia Park Creative Nonfiction




This article describes the frustrations of navigating the healthcare system as the daughter of an ill parent, rather than by her professional role as a social worker. Having tried to gain a sense of safety in what seemed to be a most unsafe situation, particular attention is focused on interactions with social workers--and whether personal knowledge of that role was a help or a hindrance.

Author Biographies

Dana Davis, Youngstown State University

Dana Davis, PhD, MSW has provided social work to people living with HIV for the past seventeen years in an outpatient setting in Pittsburgh, PA.  In addition to her career as a social worker, she is the founder and president of The Open Door, a harm reduction supportive housing program for homeless people living with HIV.  She is a regular speaker on harm reduction including the 2008, 2010 and 2015 National Social Workers Conference, the 2010 Council on Social Work Education and the 2015 United States Conference on AIDS. She has just completed her first year as an assistant professor at Youngstown State University in the department of social work.

Patricia Park, Creative Nonfiction

Patricia Park, RN, BSN, MSW has been a Registered Nurse for more than 30 years, with clinical practice spanning multiple specialties. Her career path included teaching, and clinical and medical ethics research. Experience in ICUs, transplantation, and surgical oncology produced a very strong interest in quality of life issues, ultimately leading her to hospice care. She completed an MSW in 2012 with the primary goal of its strengthening and informing nursing practice.


In addition to her health care career, she tended to the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, which publishes a quarterly magazine and books. What started off on the dining room table 22 years ago, became the first and defining publication devoted entirely to this then little understood genre. In what is now a field of greatly accepted and expanded use, Creative Nonfiction remains the first and last word in this form.




How to Cite

Davis, D., & Park, P. (2017). That’s what a social worker does. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 22(1), 44–50. Retrieved from