10 Interesting Facts About Medical Social Work Everybody Needs to Know

1. Medical social workers employ three different types of practice. The three are: the multilevel practice, the strengths perspective, and the biopsychosocial practice. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 200)

2. Ida Cannon launched the field of medical social work, in 1907, at Massachusetts General Hospital. She was hired by Richard Cabot who had identified a need in the medical field: someone to identify with patients on a more intimate level. Thus, medical social work was born.(DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 194)

3. Approximately 141,000 people work in the medical social work field, according to recent estimates. (J. Vassello, personal communication)

4. Medical social work was the first specialization within the social work field. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 203)

5. There are job opportunities in all three levels of social work in the medical field. Micro practice social workers usually provide counseling to patients, and assists with discharge and case management. Mezzo practice social workers usually work within the community and educate others about health related issues and needs. Macro practice social workers usually work on funding, advocating, and research issues in the medical field. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 204)

6. There are also many places to work while in the medical social work field. Job applicants can choose from opportunities in primary care, the VA, dialysis centers, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, or many other specialized care facilities.   (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 206-211)

7. Medical social workers are more likely to work in metropolitan areas, rather than small towns. (Facts about Social Work and Health) This is probably because there are more job opportunities in these types of areas, and bigger hospitals have the budget to hire social workers, whereas smaller hospitals in small towns may not. (J. Vassello, personal communication)

8. The medical social work field is ever changing, and there is currently a shortage of medical social workers. So, if you are in the job market, this could be a great choice for you! (Facts about Social Work and Health)

9. The average annual wage for medical social workers, as of 2015, is about 54,000. this breaks down to about $24.00 an hour! (Healthcare Social Workers, 2015)

10. California, employs the most medical social workers in the country, with approximately 14,000 people. New York has the second highest employment rate, at approximately 12,000. Massachusetts is a close third, coming in at 11,000 medical social workers. (Healthcare Social Workers, 2015)


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books
Facts about Social Work and Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 01, 2016, from https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/swMonth/2007/facts2.asp
Healthcare Social Workers. (2015). Retrieved March 01, 2016, from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm
Vassello, John. Personal communication. March 1st.

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