Medical and Public Health Social Workers Career Video
Description: Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family caregivers. Provide patients with information and counseling, and make referrals for other services. May also provide case and care management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.
When battling serious illness, patients need more than prescriptions; they need help handling stress and the complications of managing treatments. Healthcare social workers are a lifeline keeping patients and their families afloat, making it possible to cope with getting treatment. Patients leaving the hospital may need home care, meal delivery, and special equipment. Healthcare social workers help arrange those services, and connect patients to financial assistance as well. They may also arrange for legal aid, housing, and help with job or education services. As important as looking after physical needs, these social workers provide psychological and emotional support. They counsel patients as they recover from illness and adjust to changes in their lives. When child abuse or neglect is suspected, these social workers investigate and take protective action when needed. Critical thinking, patience, and emotional strength are all important qualities for this career. Healthcare social workers work collaboratively with other care professionals, in hospitals, nursing care, and mental health settings, as well as in doctors’ offices and public health clinics. A social work master’s degree and state licensure are required for most jobs in this field. Healthcare social workers make it possible to trust – that at a time when people may feel their most vulnerable— they have an advocate to give them hope and direction.