The Role of a Social Worker in the Medical Setting

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Social workers play a crucial role in the health care system, helping patients cope with difficult situations like overcoming addiction, dealing with a terminal illness or experiencing a sudden crisis. They also help connect clients with resources to address issues such as financial distress, domestic abuse, and mental health concerns. Social work is a complex field, and its practitioners are required to adhere to a set of ethical guidelines.

As with any profession, social work can be challenging at times, but it is social worker Middlepark incredibly rewarding as well. A good social worker understands and fully embodies the field’s core values of service, empathy, dignity and ethics. These practitioners are capable of addressing the most pressing social issues and creating positive change in local communities.

While social workers can be found in a variety of settings, those working in medical environments have unique challenges that require specific training and education. According to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), 92% of medical social workers have a master’s degree in their field. This is because of the intensity of this particular work and the fact that many medical social workers are trained to conduct psychosocial assessments of their clients, which are often accompanied by behavioral interventions.

These professionals are also required to maintain current professional state social work licensure and national social work certification. In addition, they must complete two years of master’s-level work experience related to the psychosocial needs of the population they serve, and adhere to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.

As a result of the demanding nature of the work, those interested in pursuing this career should seek an MSW program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Additionally, they must be familiar with their employer’s policies and procedures, as well as the broader healthcare industry.

One of the main responsibilities of a medical social worker is to perform a psychosocial assessment of each patient upon admission to the hospital. This evaluation is meant to identify any external factors, such as a family conflict or financial hardship, that may affect the patient’s ability to successfully recover from their condition. These assessments are communicated to the other members of the medical team, allowing them to better assist their patients.

Another significant aspect of this role is to support a patient’s right to participate in planning their own health care, including advance health care directives. These can include living wills, health care treatment directives and durable powers of attorney. In this way, a medical social worker can help the patient and their loved ones prepare for potential future needs and make informed choices.

In some cases, a medical social worker may also help the patient navigate the system to ensure that they receive the proper follow-up health care after their discharge from the hospital. This may involve helping them sign up for insurance or connect with community resources, like food stamps, for example.

Whether helping a patient navigate the system or connecting them with family and friends, a medical social worker can be a lifesaver. As the demand for these important health care providers continues to rise, so does the importance of understanding and supporting their mission.