What does a Healthcare Social Worker do?
A healthcare social worker offers services in counseling, advising care givers and patient education, and refers clients to other services as necessary. Many work in medical settings, like hospitals, mental health clinics, private practice, schools, child welfare, and human service agencies.
They help people through many phases of life in handling difficult issues, like, depression or other challenges and problems. Some social workers are involved in diagnosing and treating emotional, mental and behavioral problems.
How to Become a Healthcare Social Worker
A bachelor’s degree is required in psychology and social work. In the case of a clinical social worker, a master’s degree is needed. The undergraduate and graduate programs will probably want you to complete a practicum or internship prior to earning your degree in a supervised clinical setting. A license is required in the state of practice for a clinical social worker. Some jobs want a Ph.d., M.D. or J.D. (law degree).
Some on-the-job training may be available but most employer’s want extensive experience from the applicant before hiring.
Job Description of Healthcare Social Worker
A healthcare social worker provides support and services to groups, individuals or families that are challenged with coping with terminal, acute or chronic illnesses. They are involved with helping with counseling and education, suggestions to caregivers and offering referrals, where needed, for other services available. They provide care or interventions created to prevent disease and promote health and help them access better healthcare. They resolve serious problems or crises in being an advocate for client’s.
Often, patients or families need their healthcare social worker to get them started on community programs to aid in recovering from physical or mental illness and to be sure they understand other available services, such as, housing, legal aid, financial assistance, education and job opportunities. They help people with dependencies and life adjustments through counseling sessions.
A healthcare social worker would organize support groups, both for individuals or families, to provide them with understanding and help. They may coordinate rehabilitation and care based on consultation information and experience and see the service is followed through. If a patient’s status changes, the healthcare social worker would modify treatment accordingly. They observe environmental issues that may impede a patient’s healing and keep records of progress while continuing to evaluate and monitor the case.
A healthcare social worker needs to have knowledge of counseling, therapy, phycology, theology and philosophy, as well as, medicine. They need to know how to provide personal and customer services, such as, meeting quality standards, evaluation of customer satisfaction and assessment of client needs.
Healthcare social workers need the ability to communicate with others, both orally and written, so as, to be understood and to understand any information given or received. One would need to be able to find connections of, seemingly, unrelated issues through inductive reasoning and apply deductive reasoning in applying general rules for problems that lead to answers that make sense. You may supervise, train or coordinate others in this occupation.