The Roles of a Social Worker in Hospitals can never be over-emphasized. These roles are among the factors that bring about efficiency in healthcare service delivery.
Have you ever been so distressed that all the help you needed were soothing words? Well, a social worker is by far the action described.
They are not our ‘everyday’ people – the corporate guy, the tech lass, the hippy, and the fashion icons.
Actually, they are nothing short of the titled personas, they are just majorly behind the curtains – doing the background job. The curtain really does cover a lot, especially the prying eyes of idle neighbors.
The Roles of a Social Worker in Hospitals
It sounds pretty adventurous – the roles of a social worker when delivered connotatively. Unless we can give a vivid explanation of how a spider matches its webs, then we may be able to weigh the bulkiness of social work.
In general, social workers advocate for the minority, attempt to alleviate the impoverished state of the needy, identify persons and communities in need, and assist in self-realization and goal actualization. That’s a whole humanitarian service.
There is a slight dissimilitude in the mode of operation of social workers in different workspaces. This change is predominantly engendered by the policies of the organization. Most social workers are known to work under Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). However, their roles happened to have spiraled across many facets.
One crucial work setting where the role of the social worker cannot be downplayed is a hospital. Healthcare facilities are at the acme of the care and welfare unit, globally. Hospitals and clinics harbor a large mass of people with different medical conditions. With each one handling their medical issues in line with their capacity.
Until you have encountered one social worker, you may never appreciate their importance.
Why do healthcare facilities recruit social workers?
The stand-alone reason is that patients experience trauma, no matter how benign the illness may appear.
Diagnosis and the treatment are pertinent and at each stage, the patient is exposed to a whole new level of trauma; despair, anxiety, mental imbalance, and the likes.
These specifically affect the psyche of the patients and would require incessant counseling sessions, which medical practitioners may not afford.
Social workers bridge that gap. Turns the vague stare into a smile, consoles family members in critical times educate the patient and their family on their illness and the treatment required. It is a very long list, but we must learn how people become social workers.
How can I become a Social Worker?
A lot of persons possess humanitarian qualities and may intend to extend their philanthropism to others. This gesture may fill one role of a social worker but this is not a prerequisite per se.
Social work is actually a course, accredited by Universities across the globe. So, there is a degree awarded for social works – Bachelors and Masters.
It is important to note that medical social workers are required to present a certification from a University and must have worked in a health-related facility to be considered for employment.
Guidelines to becoming a Social Worker
Nothing exists without a set of principles. So in becoming a social worker you must observe the following:
Ø Get a Bachelor’s degree (BSW)
Ø Complete a Master’s degree
Ø Apply for internship(fieldwork)
Ø Apply for state social work licensure
Ø Select a social work career
Get a Bachelor’s degree
If you are treading the path of social work, it is important that your undergraduate-level course should be in sync with your career path.
Pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Social Works (BSW). Obtaining a BSW, prepares you for a social works career and it sets you at a vantage point when enrolling for a Master’s in Social Works (MSW).
Pursue a Master’s degree
The primary reason for a Master’s degree is to acquire vast and advanced knowledge. To advance your social works career, you will need to be certified.
An MSW is a requirement for State Social Work Licensing. Apparently, your BSW is important but the MSW is deemed necessary. A lot of MSW holders were not originally on the Social works track, so logically a master’s degree places them in it.
Fortunately, the MSW programs do not take a longer period.
Apply for Internship (fieldwork)
Fieldwork/Internship will be your first touch with the world of social works. It offers you the opportunity to practice as a social worker, under the supervision of experts in the field.
Ensure that you get the best out of the internship programme, as it is a catalyst for your growth and expertise.
Apply for State Social Work Licensure
Getting licensed demonstrates credibility. However, not all social work roles require licensing. On the other hand, positions that call for a license are those that require you to work with individuals. One crucial step to acquiring state licensing is to pass the licensure examination, also, finding a place that will support your licensure is fundamental, either financially or by offering necessary practice experience or clinical supervision.
In general, there are two types of licensed social workers; Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) and Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs).
Licensed clinical social workers are granted private practice permits but LMSWs do not have an independent private practice permit. This is because they are not in the business of clinical practice.
Select a social work career
It is important to decide the branch of social works that serves you or the one you are passionate about. It could be clinical social work, which deals with diagnostics, especially for mental illnesses and disorders.
Macro social works entail the creation of policy change and the management of resources to have them accessed by persons who are in need of them. It could also be social school work or medical social work. Whatever branch you decide, let it be what you are zealous about and are qualified for.
Social workers are generally versatile in administering duties, however, a medical social worker has a set of specific roles.
Ever heard of psychosocial – the branch of psychology that focuses on the human mind and its relation with social activities. Well, this is a specialty of medical social workers, they offer psychosocial support.
What then is Psychosocial Support?
Psychosocial is a fusion of ‘psycho’ and ‘social’. Put together, it means the psychological aspect of a person and the social aspect of a person.
Psychosocial support refers to the actions that address the psychological and social needs of an individual, family, and community.
A medical social worker will most definitely offer psychosocial support to an ailing person, their family (especially those with critical medical conditions), address their needs and their (financial) capacity, in crucial times.
This takes us straight to the roles of a social worker in a hospital.
Roles of a medical Social Worker
First, we must establish that medical social workers work with doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners and are not on their own while they carry out these duties.
Basically, medical social workers care for patients, their families, educate them more on their illness, the treatment required.
Checks for their financial capacity, ensure that they enjoy premium insurance policies, especially life and health insurance. The major benefit of psychosocial support is that it is both curative and preventive. Through it, mental imbalance or disorder can be managed, improved, cured, and prevented.
The following are the roles of social worker in hospitals
- Conduct psychosocial assessment on patients, so as to identify their needs and any mental or emotional distress that may heighten their health condition. After the assessment has been completed, the social worker relays the outcome to the doctors and nurses, and related parties.
- Educate the patient about their illness, the causes, effects, and possible remedies. Offer to counsel patients and extends this to their family members. Informs them of the change in the treatment, if there will be any.
- Organize crisis intervention for patients and most family members. This way they will be able to cope with the tragedy of losing a loved one, especially those with a terminal illness.
- Medical social workers help patients and their families understand the resources and facilities that are available to them in the hospital and in their community. This way, they will be able to navigate their resources accordingly.
- Ensures that patients receive optimum care, which is fundamental to health improvement.
Medical social work may exceed the hospital setting, especially because some patients may not be required to stay within the hospital environment (outpatients). Thus, their workspace could be in the houses of those patients.
Conclusion on roles of social worker in hospitals
Social work is a lot more than we think. It is a lot more cumbersome and requires a lot of empathy and humane qualities.
You have learnt the steps to becoming a social worker and the responsibilities carried out by a social worker in a hospital.
It is also necessary to note that you can accomplish anything, if you put your mind to it.
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