It is not very common to talk about social workers or social work in the healthcare industry. However, it plays an important role in the betterment of this industry by complementing the patient care offered inside a medical facility. Social workers help people deal with their social issues and help them get better by listening to their stories and talking about their grievances.
Social workers often work with other medical professionals and provide holistic healthcare services to the patients who come for the treatment. The introduction of social work to the medical setting goes back to the start of the 20th century by Dr. Richard C. Cabot, who had aclinical medicine and social ethics background. Ever since, social work is playing an important role in the healthcare industry, with social workers helping patients cope with their illnesses by fulfilling their physiological needs, including their reaction to disease and adaptation to their medical conditions.
Social work is a diverse field. People with social work degrees are trained to work in various settings, including hospitals and other patient care systems. They work in various fields to improve the lives of people with various illnesses, backgrounds, cultural heritages, and family lineages. This implies that social work degree is not limited to social work only. So, you might also be wondering, what can you do with a social work degree besides social work? For new students and professionals entering the field, this seems like a fundamental question to ask.
The most significant advantage of the social work degree is that it contributes to the healthcare industry greatly. Here are some skills that you learn during your social work degree and how they help improve healthcare.
- Problem-Solving And Critical Thinking
Healthcare systems deal with patients with all kinds of emergencies and patient care needs. Often some situations require critical thinking and quick decision making. An important aspect of the social work degree is that it prepares you for such critical decisions that you can apply working in a hospital. Critical thinking is intricately linked with problem-solving. Social workers have to work with doctors to work on the cues that patients give them about their medical condition.
It is different to work to cure a patient with drug abuse than one with other medical conditions. Thanks to their degree, the social workers are trained to tackle such situations that help doctors improve the provision of patient treatment.
Communication is crucial to achieving success in any career. The work of a social worker involves dealing with people from all walks of life. Therefore, social workers learn to communicate passionately and with affection. Communication skills you learn help deal with patients who come with traumatic backgrounds and illnesses. Often you work with doctors treating patients with physical and gender-based violence and acid attacks. Talking to these patients, understanding their trauma requires efficient communication skills that you get with a social work degree.
Effective communication skills are also essential to educate patients about the medicines and their efficacy. Apart from that, they discuss their entitlements, share in the community resource, and the healthcare insurance with patients.
- Advocacy Role And Corporate Social Responsibility
The purpose of social workers is to improve the lives of fellow human beings. They are often connected to social responsibility and advocacy groups with the same goal of guiding the patients about health and social equality. Social workers working in the hospital or a critical care facility can help fulfill the role of patient advocates. They make sure the patients are given the best services, there is social equality regarding treatment and patient care. As independent bodies, they hold the organizations responsible for their activities. It also includes keeping hospitals accountable for equal patient care opportunities and ethical practices towards all members of the medical together with doctors, nurses, and other professionals.
Often their advocacy and social responsibility roles go beyond working in the medical setting. They often rally with other stakeholders for a change in policies. It could be for better patient care services such as more beds and medical equipment or cutting the cost of medical services.
- Counseling Services
During the social work degree, the candidates are prepared to fulfill the counseling role as well. They learn the art of coaxing people to discuss their matters with them. They offer the same skills in a healthcare setting as well and offer genetic counseling to the patients.
Working with patients with medical illnesses and psychological problems is often complicated for physicians who are well-versed in medicine only. However, social workers help them get critical information by their sittings with the patients in question. This is often more true when there are cases of rapes and assault where a patient is too traumatic and afraid to talk.
- Transferable Skills
Students learn about transferable skills during their social work course that help them work in the healthcare sector too. For instance, teamwork, analytical skills, and research skills are applicable to working in the healthcare industry too. You learn the art of working with other medical professionals to achieve the goal of offering better patient care services to those coming in any medical facility. Similarly, the research skills allow you to gain insight into patient conditions, their various causes, and the best way to cure them.
When people with these skills enter the healthcare sector, they improve the overall working of the sector, bring better patient care services. Ultimately, it helps medical professionals perform their duties most efficiently. Hence, social work and social workers play their part in the betterment of healthcare.
Regardless of how little limelight they attract in healthcare, social workers play an integral role in understanding the psychological side of a patient’s illness. Hence, social workers help improve the patient care services and healthcare sector on the whole. The skills gained through the social work degree, such as communication skills, teamwork, problem-solving and critical analysis, work to ensure all patients get the equal and best patient care services once they enter a healthcare facility.