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Magazine Again Names Medical/Public Health Social Work Top 50 Career

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U.S. News and World Report again named medical and public health social work as one of the Top 50 careers in the United States.

The job made the Top 50 list for 2010 and again for 2011.

The demand for medical and public health social workers is expected to grow as the nation ages. To read the full U.S. News and World Report article, click here.

Q: Healthcare social workers, are you pleased with your career choice? Do you also see future growth in this sector?

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  1. I am pleased with my choice to work as a dialysis social worker as It allows me to work with chronically ill people over an extended period of time. This lets a relationship develop between me and the dialysis patient. I also work with the various healthcare professionals that help those on dialysis live in the best way that is possible for them.

    As for hospital social workers, there is a move to case management and nursing is doing this job. Case management is doing the discharge planning in order to move the patient through the hospitalization as quickly and efficiently as possible. Because of nurse’s medical expertise this is more cost effective. Shorter hospital stays is the goal.

    So with this in mind I think that hospitals will be replacing some social work positions with case managers who are nurses. This will happen as social workers retire or move on. Since nursing salaries are higher and the budget has to balance it may lead to few and fewer social work positions in hospital healthcare.

    I am also a nurse and have been told that I could make more money if I took a position as a case manager.

    Over time it will probably all balance out as hospitals keep it going around and around trying to provide good efficient care. But that of course remains to be seen.

  2. I believe there is tremendous growth in this area. I am pleased not only with my choice to become a social worker, but also with my choice to become a Hospice Social Worker. Wouldn’t change either of those choices.

  3. I need advice –
    I am having great difficulty working with a rural acute care hospital. My concern can probably be seen across the state. I have been a social worker for +10 years and the social work profession is inadequately represented in the regulations. Most, if not all, of the bigger hospitals have only social workers with Master’s degrees or better working in Case Management to follow the discharge planning regulation, but then there is also a requirement for social services. The regulations do not indicate an appropriate definition of social workers and how the social workers with BSW must be supervised. I had my BSW for 5-6 years and then received my Master’s and I am someone who will voice concerns with someone with only a Bachelor degree in social work working independently in a hospital. Most other regulations (except SNFs) require a MSW and some state that a BSW can attend patient needs, but the regulations leave out a vital component which is stated in most other regulations and also parallels the standards of practice as indicated by the profession. This is specifically a concern with the new trends of hospitalists. The problems with this system is the lack of connectiveness and personal involvement. I feel that there are more issues being missed now because a hospitalist (and not always same) now admits to acute care where he/she knows little to nothing about the patient. In past, at least, the attending physician was someone who had some prior experience with patient. Now, the hospitalist treats medical admitting diagnosis, but is unable to fill in the missing pieces which can be put together by someone with Master’s. I feel that now, more than ever, having this regulation changed to better define a qualified social worker as someone who has a Master’s degree, but if a BSW is employed, he/she must be supervised by MSW or better. The rural hospital is accredited by AOA and because the CEO and the HR director do not know social work, they do not understand how detrimental it is that the social work department is being managed/directed by BSW – Master in Health Care Management. She is directing 3 other BSWs and 2 MSWs and I see things she is advising that border and are unethical as determined by NASW code of ethics. Even if regulations could not be changed immediately, could I at least get advice on how to proceed in defending my concerns with administration. So far, the CEO and HR director do not see my concerns to be as detrimental as I do. I do have support though from nursing staff/ nursing administration, but unfortunately they are not the deciding factor. I have left the organization due to this concern – I did not want to jeopardize my chance at LCSW (in June, 2011) so I would recommend the MSW who has been there for 15 years rather than a BSW who has been there 5 or less years. Thank you – 573-631-3675 -Tarrah Kirkpatrick, MSW

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