About The Association Of Oncology Social Work (AOSW)

Like in most professions you will find that there are many benefits to belonging to an association of social workers if that is your chosen line of work. There are a number of associations and other organizations that a social worker can belong to in the US, but it is worth your while to look into those associations that are related specifically to your specialty in the field. If you are an oncology social worker, the best association for you to belong to is called the Association of Oncology Social Work. As usual you will, as a member o this association, receive a number of benefits as part of your membership, although there are membership fees involved that you will have to pay in order to benefit from this. To start off with you need to develop a working understanding of what the Association of Oncology Social Work has to offer and how to go about becoming a member.

What Is The Association Of Oncology Social Work?

According to the association’s website:

“The Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) is a non-profit, international, 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to the enhancement of psychosocial services to people with cancer and their families. Created in 1984 by social workers interested in oncology and by existing national cancer organizations, we have over 1000 current members who embrace the AOSW Mission “to advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through networking, education, advocacy, research and resource development.”

The association offers many of those all-important continuing education opportunities that you will need to make use of throughout your career.

  • AOSW Annual Conference
  • Oncology Social Work Specialty Certification
  • Other Conferences & Programs

The association prides itself on providing the following to its members:

  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Networking opportunities
  • Research, and
  • Resources

Like most associations for most disciplines, the primary aim of the Association of Oncology Social Work is to ensure that the social workers in its care as well as the patients of those social workers are adequately cared for at all levels and that professionalism is maintained. There is more to associations such as these than meets the eye. If you are a member of the association you will not only have the opportunity to play an active role in bringing about reform in your discipline but you will also have access to a number of educational and networking opportunities, as well as other resources, that may be invaluable in terms of helping you to advance your career in the field. Being a member of an association such as this one is incredibly sensible and will serve you well in the long run.

Mission, Vision And Goals

According to their website the following are the mission and vision of the association:

Mission Statement of the Association of Oncology Social Work:

“To advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through:

  • Networking
  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • Research
  • Resource Development”

As you can see here, the primary aim of the association is to ensure that those people and their families suffering from cancer are cared for adequately and that all dimensions of their needs are appropriately addressed.

Vision Statement of the Association of Oncology Social Work:

“AOSW envisions a global society in which oncology care meets the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of all people affected by cancer”.Association Of Oncology Social Work

In addition the association also has a number of goals that it strives to meet. Firstly it aims to increase awareness regarding the psychosocial effects of cancer. In addition there is a strong focus on furthering the study of the psychological and social effects of cancer through research and continuing education endeavors. Thirdly the association aims at advocating for programs and policies that are designed to meet the psychosocial needs of oncology patients and their families. As interdisciplinary cooperation is of such importance in this line of work, the association also promotes liaison activities with other psychosocial oncology groups and professional oncology organizations. Perhaps one of the most important goals of the organization is that it aims to advance the practice of psychosocial interventions that enhance quality of life and recovery of persons with cancer and their families as well as to foster communication and support among psychosocial oncology caregivers. Last but not least the organization has a strong focus on promoting the highest professional standards and ethics in the practice of oncology social work.

How To Be A Member: Rates

There are three options open to you when it comes to applying for membership through the Association of Oncology Social work:

  • You can fill in an application online which is the fastest way to apply.
  • You can download the PDF version of the application form, fill it in, and then post it to the association.
  • Last but not least you can put in a request to have a hardcopy of the application mailed to you through the US postal service.

Becoming a member with an association such as this will always involve a fee. If you are a full member you can expect to pay a membership rate of $150 USD, if you are an associate you can expect to pay a membership rate of $150 USD, and if you are retired you can expect to pay a membership rate of $120 USD. Full-time students and post graduates will pay about $90 USD but there are certain rules involved in this regard. If you are a student you must be enrolled full-time in an accredited social work degree program. A copy of your current student identification [showing full-time status] or diploma [showing graduation date] must be presented with your membership application. Eligibility for the BSW and/or MSW student category is limited to full-time students and for 1 consecutive year post graduation. Friends can also join at a fee of $90.

Benefits Of Membership With The Association Of Oncology Social Work

There are certainly a number of excellent benefits involved in belonging to this association.

General membership benefits:

One of the main general member benefits you will be able to make use of is the fact that you will have easy access to AOSW’s journal, the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and quarterly Newsletters. This is the resources dimension of the many benefits you can gain by joining this association. In addition you will pay a reduced registration rate at the AOSW annual conference and you will have access to the Member’s Only Section of the AOSW website which also contains many excellent resources to aid you in your job or studies. Other resources that all members receive include access to AOSW publications such as the Standards of Practice for Oncology Social Work, the Bone Marrow Transplant Special Interest Group Directory, and the Social Work Oncology Research Kit for the Oncology Social Worker.

In addition to simply providing you with resources for your own interest and benefit, the
association also provides national and regional educational opportunities. You may also find that you are eligible for membership in AOSW Special Interest Groups.

One of the main advantages that many members enjoy is that they are provided with networking opportunities on a local, national and international level to share professional expertise and knowledge in the field, in addition to which they receive opportunities to impact patient care management and public policy as it relates to oncology social work on a national level.

Additional benefits if you are a social worker:

According to the website of the association, which can be found at this site  you can benefit from the following if you are member and a social worker:

  • General Member Benefits
  • Voting Privileges
  • POWER Directory free membership
  • Access to SWON, the newsgroup and email network of the AOSW
  • Opportunity to actively serve on AOSW Board and committees

There are also a number of additional benefits for those who are not social workers. Patient navigators and non-social worker professionals can benefit from the following:

  • General Member Benefits listed above PLUS
  • Access to SWON, the newsgroup and email network of the AOSW

There are more reasons to belong to the Association of Oncology Social Work than to avoid membership. In many cases belonging to a well known association such as this can improve your chances of employment as it looks good on your resume. Many employers and states require you to belong to a social working association of some description, and choosing one which covers the line of social work in which you specialize is the most sensible decision to make on this front. The least that you can do is make a few enquiries into the Association of Oncology Social Work.

To find out more about the Association of Oncology Social Work:

The AOSW home office
100 North 20th St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 599-6093

(215) 564-2175

For general questions or comments

For any member related questions or comments

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