Medical Social Workers are becoming more prominent in today’s health care system. Even small hospitals are now employing social workers in order to provide quality care for their patients. The job growth for health social workers is expected to grow faster than average through 2018. The national median salary for medical social work positions is $46,300.
Medical social workers are a very important part of the health care team. Patients and medical professionals rely on the Social Worker for their experience and ability to handle difficult situations. Having access to a medical social worker is when patients need additional services or even placement because of a difficult disease.
Medical Social Workers may have differing educational backgrounds. Each type can perform specific duties, with individuals who have obtained an MSW who typically have the capability to do the most. The different educational backgrounds are the MSW (Masters in Social Work), LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), and BSW (Bachelor’s Social Work). BSWs often require specialized supervision from an MSW if they are working in home health care but are able to work independently in hospitals, but may have limited duties.
Medical Social Work Jobs
A medical social worker is part of an interdisciplinary treatment team, which can include doctors, nurses, clergy, physical therapists and other health specialists. The social worker helps the patient to understand his/her course of treatment, guides the patient through the process and engages in discharge planning and patient advocacy. The social worker also gives emotional support and counseling to patients and their families.
A medical Social Worker is considered part of an interdisciplinary treatment team, which includes doctors, nurses, clergy, physical therapists and other health specialists. The role of the Social Worker is to help the patient understand his/her course of treatment, guide the patient through the process and engage in discharge planning and patient advocacy. The Social Worker is also available to provide emotional support and counseling to patients and their families.
The medical Social Workers is often required to perform assessments with patients to assess for any physical, mental or emotional needs. They also work with the patient’s family to assess the family support system and link the patient with services to help with care, if needed. Another duty of the Social Worker is to provide assistance with financial concerns, such as being unable to afford medications or pay household bills. Social Workers also provide end of life counseling for the patient and their family.
The website for the National Association of Social Work reports that Social Workers are employed in medical settings to help educate and provide support to patients and their families. Social Workers are able to explain to the patient what services are available to them and how they can utilize the services. This increases patient safety and also decreases the chance that the patient will need to return to the hospital. Health Social Worker’s are often able to spend more one-on-one time with their patients, which affords them the ability to form close relationships that may not be formed between the physician and patient
If you have a love for the medical field and social work, you can combine your two passions and work as a medical social worker. With positions expected to become available faster than average, you are likely to find a hospital or healthcare system that is looking to hire a dedicated social worker like you.