IPTA Allied Health & Nursing Spotlight:
Social Work

Denise Alloway

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford
Palo Alto, CA, USA

1. What does your routine day look like?

Our days are always different, which is something I love most about my job! One day I might be spending the entire day in our outpatient clinic, meeting new families and conducting transplant assessments, then talking about contraceptives, mental health care and bullying with another stable post transplant adolescent, then talking about adherence with a fresh post op who was just discharged from the hospital while on another day, I’m running from one inpatient to another, providing emotional support, having end of life conversations, assessing for discharge readiness and hanging out with very cute babies while I provide education around what to expect after transplant.

2. What are you most proud of?

The relationships I have built over the years with challenging patients and families, being allowed and welcomed into sensitive conversations and the most intimate, important moments with patients and families. I am always so honored when a family opens up to me and allows me to walk alongside them throughout their transplant journey.

3. Are there any challenges in your role?

There are always challenges in my role! Social work in a hospital setting isn’t well understood at most institutions and a lot of providers see us as the resource people when in fact, our roles are much more broad and encompassing than just handing out gas cards. We work hard to be recognized as mental health professionals, offering sometimes unpopular perspectives while advocating for our patients and families.

4. What would you tell others who are interested in pursuing this career?

You will never be bored! You will be happy, sad, nervous, angry, frustrated, relieved, but you will never be bored.

5. How does an IPTA membership enrich your career?

Having access to other pediatric social workers providers, education and resources has helped me grow professionally. We have patients who come from all over, so knowing I can reach out to another social worker and pick their brain about the way they do things at their institution also helps me be a better social worker to my patients and families.

6. Any other interesting/ relevant factors you would like to share when describing your role, in relation to pediatric transplant?

I think I covered it 😊



Staff Directory


The Transplantation Society
International Headquarters
740 Notre-Dame Ouest
Suite 1245
Montréal, QC, H3C 3X6