Finding Ways to Advocate for Patients

Samantha Mok is the 2012 recipient of Rush’s Gail L. Warden Employee of the Year Award.

Social worker case manager Samantha Mok, LSW, looks at problems that may hinder heart patients from following their medical plan of care. The problems may be related to the patients’ finances or access to transportation, among other things. Mok comes up with creative solutions to help them overcome these obstacles and locate resources that others hadn’t previously explored.

Some of her accomplishments include obtaining resources to purchase scales, blood pressure cuffs and glucometers for patients. She often finds physicians at Rush University Medical Center who will make house calls and pharmacies that will deliver medications to patients who are unable to get out.

“She tackles every task with a smile and doesn’t stop until she succeeds,” says Diane Martin, heart transplant coordinator, Department of Cardiovascular-Thoracic Surgery. “She exemplifies the meaning of patient advocacy.

Mok’s dedication to patients is evident in her effort to develop a support group for heart transplant patients. In order to educate heart transplant patients about their condition, she showed staff members in cardiovascular-thoracic surgery how they could make DVD recordings of the patient-education lectures the department presented. The department now gives the DVDs to patients to help educate them about their condition. The DVDs also are featured on Rush’s patient education channel.

“I’ve learned that putting the patient first means thinking outside of the box to come up with creative solutions and caring for someone in the way that you’d want to be cared for,” she explains. “It’s extremely rewarding and usually is a team effort.”

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