Medical social work is a specialist area of social work that requires degree level training. Medical social workers arrange psychosocial care for patients young and old, many of whom have just been discharged from healthcare facilities. Find out more about the benefits and challenges of getting a job as a medical social worker in the UK.
What is medical social work?
Medical social work is one of the many specialist areas of social work. Medical social work is also referred to as hospital social work.
Where do medical social workers work?
Medical social workers are based in hospitals, nursing facilities and hospices.
What does a medical social worker do?
Medical social workers provide support to patients who require psychosocial help. They use their knowledge to assess the degree of psychosocial functioning of the patients who have been referred to them. Medical social workers as discharge planners Medical social workers play a crucial role in discharge planning for patients in hospital. They create a discharge plan that not only meets a patient's needs but allows them to leave their care facility in a timely manner. They may, therefore, arrange residential care facilities and arrange for bio-psychosocial intervention, such as supportive counselling, for patients when necessary. Medical social workers as patient advocates Medical social workers act as advocates for patients. They must place the needs of their patients ahead of other considerations. Medical social workers as team members Medical social workers do not work alone. They function as part of a larger interdisciplinary team of health and social care professionals. They, therefore, consult with doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and occupational therapists.
What qualifications do I need to become a medical social work?
To become a medical social worker, a degree in social work is required. To study for social work courses at degree level, at least five GCSEs will be required and two A levels or equivalent. Entry requirements for social work degrees will vary between universities.
What skills are required to become a medical social worker?
Medical social workers must deal with large case loads covering a range of social work issues. They must meet strict deadlines for arranging the required services. Medical social workers must ensure that a patient’s needs are identified in a timely manner. They are required to deal with a range of problems which are often interconnected. Medical social workers are often required to work to NHS finance budgets. Medical social workers require excellent analytical and assessment skills. They must be able to communicate clearly with patients and should be able to work as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team of professionals.