Gulf Coast VA honors social worker for going above and beyond

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May 2, 2022
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Heather Donnelly was named Gulf Coast VA’s Social Worker of the Year. Hospital Director Bryan C. Matthews presented her with a certificate and acknowledged her contributions to the organization and the more than 82,000 Veterans it serves along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast.

“Heather Donnelly truly goes above and beyond her job title and is a valued member of her interdisciplinary team,” said Social Work Service Assistant Chief Alice Entrekin. “She has been a sounding board and an empathetic listener to our Veterans and often acts as the buffer between the Veteran and the medical staff to ensure their needs can be met.”

Donnelly successfully adapted to the increase in facility admissions during the ongoing global health crisis, remaining flexible and resourceful during the implementation of enhanced visitor restrictions as well as adopting additional roles to ensure Veteran needs were met.

Social Worker of the Year

Heather Donnelly and Director Bryan C. Matthews

“Social work is a difficult pursuit, and those who choose this profession must be prepared to engage in a variety of functions to ensure our Veterans continue receiving the care they deserve,” Matthews said. “Donnelly has epitomized both our values and VA’s standards of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence. I couldn’t be more proud to recognize her as the top social worker from a field of outstanding peers.”

Donnelly, a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, currently works as an acute care/intensive care unit social worker at the Biloxi VA Medical Center, a position centered around providing safe and appropriate discharge plans for Veterans in the organization’s acute care.

Donnelly also serves on the Biloxi VA Medical Center’s Preventative Ethics Committee and is an integral part of the team aspect the medical center Social Work Service employs.

Significant contributions in numerous disciplines

He recognition comes on the heels of Professional Social Work Month, celebrated to highlight the significant contributions social workers make in the numerous disciplines in which they are employed.

VA maintains a rich history of social work innovators and leaders, as well as the profession’s commitment to improving social conditions and quality of life opportunities for Veterans, their families and caregivers.

Biloxi VA Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City community-based outpatient clinics, are all part of the Gulf Coast VA, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 82,000 Veterans.

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