7 Duties of a Medical Social Worker

Social workers responsibilities differ depending on the facility, unit, and culture of the social work department in each given facility. Social workers duties may also differ depending on which shift they work (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).


(1) It is important for social workers working the night shift to be well acquainted with community service providers. Keep in mind that they generally make few referrals other than for emergency drug treatment or psychiatric care (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).


(2) Social workers working the day shift spend a lot of their time on the phone making referrals, meeting with patients and their family members, and helping the treatment team to provide counseling services (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).


(3) Social workers are also responsible for advocating for patients in the health care organization or community if the patient is not able to advocate for themselves (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).


(4) It is the responsibility of the social worker to seek out funding that meets global health care demands (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).


(5) Social workers act as liaisons between health care organizations and the community (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).


(6) Social workers are expected to participate in interdisciplinary treatment teams. The concept of these teams requires that each member complete an assessment according to the standards of his or her respective discipline. They are then expected to identify tentative goals and create a plan that allows each client to reach said goals (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 206).


(7) Providing patients and families with health education is also a responsibility of the social worker. It is important that patients and their families are aware of different medications and procedures before they consent to taking anything or getting operated on (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).


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