Intimate Conversation with Annie Clara Brown
Annie Clara Brown is a licensed social worker who holds a Baccelerate of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Montevallo and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Alabama. She currently works as a hospice social worker with Lakeside Hospice in Pell City, Alabama. Her job duties makes her responsible for conducting psychosocial assessments, counseling patients and their families about end of life issues, helping patients and their families to access community resources, and conducting grief support groups as needed.
Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. She finds it gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner! She cares deeply for her patients and care-givers, she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding both physically and emotionally. Annie's strengths lie in the personal stories and her personal feelings, reactions, and experiences. Annie hopes to inspire caregivers and patients to choose hospice care when faced with terminal illness at the end of life. She further wants social workers and healthcare workers to know that hospice care can be one of the most challenging but fulfilling areas to serve mankind.
BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
My journey into social work began when my job in textile was sent overseas. However, in hindsight, there has been an innate desire in my heart to help others since I was a child and saw so much poverty in my neighborhood. Who or what motivated you? My greatest motivation came from God who gave me a heart for people and my family who were so supportive during my transition from textiles to becoming a social work professional. It was not easy going back to school at age forty-six.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to?
This work can be for any layperson, terminally ill person, social workers, or other healthcare professional. Do you consider authors as role models? Yes, I believe any area of your life that you are passionate about, whether it be an author or social worker should be an extension of who you are.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Mostly reflections and seeing an increase in the use of hospice care over the last ten years. Why now? I am getting ready to retire in a couple of years; therefore, I wanted to have a book out about hospice care from a social worker prospective.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed remembering the different patients who became part of my journey and has such an impact on my life.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
Most of my ideas came from the need for the terminally ill and their families to understand there are options when they are tired of aggressive care and the care is not effective. Are your books, plotting-driven or character-driven? This particular work is somewhat plot-driven and character-driven. Why? I believe because there is a sort of plot which would be to move from one care-plan to another while this book tells the stories of many patients and their journey from earth to eternity.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Yes. My recent work is about my personal journey as a social worker as I tell about the gratification I have experienced as I have embraced the profession as a hospice social worker. The work has been challenging, but yet fulfilling because I have been invited into the lives of various aged persons, social economic status groups, ethnicities, races at one of the most critical times in their lives. Regardless, of who they are, if they have or have not death does not discriminate and if God does not perform a miracle of healing, then the one thing they all have in common is death at the end. Is this book available on Nook and Kindle? Yes the book is available on Nook and Kindle.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main speakers.
I cannot pick a main character unless it would be the lady that gave me the idea for the name of the book. I learned so much from each one of the people in the book and my life is so much richer because whether it was a special shared moment or fulfilling a need for the family I got to serve God's people.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present journey?
End of life issues includes so many diverse and complex issues in that retrospect death and dying bring your own immortality into a reality of it could be me. Therefore, it causes me to examine myself to say if the Lord were to call me home would I spend eternity with God. That same principle is applicable to every living human being because we do not know when our time is up on this earth and we do not know what avenue we may have to move out. So each day I am concerned about the emotional and spiritual state of the patient and their families that I encounter.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes, I did or actually writing about the services of hospice has reaffirmed for me personally that if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was told that there were no curative measures; then, I would personally choose hospice care.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Actually, I share about some of my patients in the book; however, my coworkers have some interesting stories to tell about some of their encounters and some of the bloopers they experienced. There was a phone call made to the office one day and the patient's son was adamant about his mother having a Paracentesis (removal of fluid off a person's stomach when they have liver disease. Our receptionist who is Tam took the call. After giving the son's phone call to the appropriate healthcare person, Tam seemed so upset because she could not understand why someone with a terminal illness would need a new pair of "teethies"
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goals are educational and supportive. I believe that the book can be used as a go to guide when someone is asked about hospice and what hospice does. The book also gives some great personal self-care tips for laypersons, pastors, social workers or healthcare professionals.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on any updated edition of my first book Christians with Pervasive Issues. Also, I am offering workshops to churches and communities on end of life issues.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Purchase My Little People: A Social Worker's Journey