Choosing a career is not always an easy task to do. It is better to make a career decision in the early stages, so that you can “grow” into your career. A career as a medical social worker can give you the career path with room for that growth. This is the type of career that gives you job satisfaction each day, because you are in the position where you can truly help someone and make their life a little easier. As a medical social worker, you will be working as a subdivision of social work which means that you will be working with patients and their families to help where there might be any problems.
The life of a medical social worker is of course not always as easy as you would sometimes want it to be. This is due to the fact that you might have to deliver bad news to the patient and his or her family from time to time, which might involve that they cannot yet be discharged for certain reasons. Some patients feel they are ready to be discharged and they oppose your findings, because they feel scared and confused.
The social worker job description can also be varied within the boundaries of normal social work encased in the medical field. The basics of the medical social worker job description stays the same, but it can vary according to which type of institution you will be working in. This will also determine the social worker salary.
Being a medical social worker is not being the bearer of bad news all the time. It is one of the rewarding jobs, because you get to help people on a daily basis. All those years of studying ridiculously difficult medical terms and theoretical texts, are all very well worth it at the end of the day and brings you closer to a brilliant future.
Getting A Job As A Medical Social Worker
The job description of a medical social worker includes the help to prepare patients and their families for when the time comes for them to be discharged from the hospital. They also help with the rehabilitation of the patient as well as assess if the person is ready to be discharged. Sometimes it can be a challenge for a patient to go back into the world when they are discharged and this is where the social worker prepares you for further recovery out of the hospital.
When looking at a typical medical social worker job description, you need to do the following:
- Preparing a patient for hospital discharge
- Preparing the family how to handle any crisis at home and giving them a plan of action
- Evaluation the mental health of the patient before discharge
- Gauging if the client is chemically dependent on any medication before discharge
- Reporting and investigating any suspected child abuse
- Grief counseling
- Referrals to special support groups for the patient and the family
The medical social worker job description can also include any other duties that the hospital, hospice or other medical facility might deem necessary to reach its objectives and for the better service of patients.
They may not have the most glamorous job when you look at the it’s job description, but when you look at the good you are doing for your patients and for society as a whole, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much satisfaction and self-worth you will gain from this career. Your patients will be assured that they are ready to leave the hospital or medical facility and they will know how to deal with the challenges that the world will hold in for them.
Think about how a new amputee must feel when they have to take on the world where their lives have changed forever. The social worker can help him or her deal with the loss through grief counseling, can get him or her in touch with support groups and can council the family of the patient with regards to what they can expect and how to handle the patient. The patient might be a little more dependent on others, but would still want to retain some sense of self-sufficiency and this is something that can be a big adjustment for both the patient and for the family. The patient might be in a depressed state of mind and it is up to the social worker to help the patient deal with this depression as well as what the world out there would be like. Cancer can also be a life changing disease and a big adjustment for the patient and the family. There are many support groups patients can join and it is important for you, as medical social worker, to help the patient and the family get in touch with these groups so that they can see that they are not alone in their struggles and that there are people that they can relate to.
The Earning Potential of a Medical Social Worker
A medical social worker salary is relevant to the amount of work that the person has to do. The working hours are quite long and the stresses could be many and for this reason, the remuneration is relevant to the workload.
The salary will also depend on the state they work in as the laws on remuneration are so different between states. You will also need to look at what kind of establishment you will be working in. You will be able to use your medical social worker qualification in a hospital, a hospice, for home care or in any other mental or medical institution. The type of care you give and the kind of environment you work in with the working hours will also have an impact on your salary.
The average salary should be around $52000, but as mentioned already, there are many factors that could influence what they could earn. This gives you some small measure of control over your earning potential, but the industry standard is quite set about how much you can learn. When you look at everything you have to do to earn this salary, you will see that it is quite relevant to what you will be earning.
As a medical social worker, you are very important to the hospital’s discharge plans. If a patient takes too long to recover and his discharge is delayed for too long by your observations, the hospital could end up losing millions in a year. For this reason, you need to be skilled in observing tell-tale signs that the patient may be getting better so that he can be discharged and see through the fact that he might be delaying the inevitable by pretending to still be sick. Many patients want to be discharged, but are delayed because of studies that still needs to be done and observations that need to be made before they are discharged. You also cannot discharge a patient who is not fully recovered.
You would also need to work well in a team environment, because the medical team often relies on the social worker for important information and to help them ensure their patients are fully equipped to leave the hospital and won’t be a danger to themselves or others. If a cancer patient lives by themselves you would need to make sure that the patient does not have any side effects from the medication that could place them in danger. If this is the case, then a home care worker needs to be assigned to the patient when he is being released. Other frail care patients also need the necessary help to get through their daily lives with dignity and in a safe manner. Above all you would need the necessary amount of compassion that will enable you to put the welfare of your patients above anything else.
The Ability To Work Under Pressure
As a medical social worker, you need to make sure that each case is handled by its deadline even if you have a high load of cases waiting for you. This means you would need to be able to work well under pressure so that you can give each one of your cases the necessary attention and care as you would if you only had one single case that you were working on. The rehabilitation of certain patients is very important so that they can return as functioning members of society and that they can deal with the discrimination that might come their way once they have been discharged.
Even if you don’t have a doctor’s degree, you will be just as much a part of the critical medical staff as any doctor, nurse or therapist. Just as you will be able to assist the rest of the medical team, they will be able to assist you with the necessary tests and files and information that you may need of the patient to do the job to the best of your ability.