Medical social workers provide social services to patients facing substantial and often challenging medical issues. Individuals recovering from illness or trauma may become psychologically, emotionally, and socially destabilized; it is the duty of a medical social worker to provide support for these clients. Medical social workers help patients by addressing problems related to their illness, such as substance abuse or domestic conflict. They help enhance the interaction between patients and healthcare providers, thereby ensuring that the best interests of the patient are being met.
Medical Social Worker Job Description
Patients in need of psychosocial assistance will benefit the most from a medical social worker. They give sound advice to the patients as well as their family members about their health condition; connecting them with the appropriate resources and support groups; providing psychotherapy and counseling; providing financial support and legal assistance; collaborate with other healthcare practitioners in assessing the patient. For example, if a patient is having problems with their finances, medical social workers will assist them in finding the appropriate city, state and federal programs for financial assistance.
Medical social workers are responsible for formulating a discharge plan for hospital patients who are ready to go home. By collaborating with other health care team members, they determine whether it is medically necessary for patients to continue staying at the hospital, so they can leave in a timely manner. Hence, they effectively lower the cost of lengthy hospital stays for both the healthcare system and the patient themselves.Medical social worker job description may include the following:
- Help parents to find special education services for a developmentally challenged pre-schooler
- Work in collaboration with other healthcare givers to evaluate the medical or physical condition of the patients
- Evaluate needs of the patient
- Counsel patients on how to overcome their conditions and avoid dependencies as they recuperate from their illness
- Help patients to adjust back to normal life
- Evaluate and suggest the appropriate type of in-home help required by a newly discharged patient
- Work together with other members of the multidisciplinary treatment team
How to Become a Medical Social Worker
Becoming a medical social worker requires one to have at least a bachelor’s degree (2 years to complete) in social work from an accredited program approved by the Council on Social Work Education. However, many employers prefer advanced degrees such as a master’s degree (1-2 additional years to complete) in social work. This explains why there is more job vacancies in administrative and healthcare positions, which requires applicants to possess a higher degree.
Most entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), while positions in administration, schools, and healthcare require applicants with a master’s degree in social work (MSW). Students graduating from a master’s degree are trained with managerial skills while able to more effectively manage a larger number of clients. To carry out clinical assessments, one must complete a master’s degree in social work. Hence, all clinical social workers possess a MSW.
Medical Social Worker Training
The training program of medical social workers has two main parts, classroom work and supervised field experience. The students in these programs are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours of field experience under the supervision of well trained social workers. The classroom work takes care of the theoretical aspect of their job while the supervised field experience takes care of the practical aspect.[Cannot display search widget: You must configure the search widget from the admin screen before you can add a widget to your page.]
Medical Social Worker Certification
Not all medical social workers require licensure before they can practice. Medical social workers are split into clinical medical social worker and non-clinical medical social worker. Only clinical medical social worker require a license to practice. These individuals also hold a master’s or doctorate degree. They may work in hospitals, treatment facilities, or even their own practice. On the other hand, non-clinical medical social workers must work under the consultation of a clinical social worker and can not open their own practices.
Medical Social Worker Salary
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Medical Social Worker Job Description SummaryHere is a short recap of the medical social worker job description:
- Work with patients in need of psychosocial help
- Work with physicians, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals
- 2-4 years of education
- Do not need a license to work
- 27% employment growth by 2022