What does a medical social worker do?

A medical social worker, sometimes referred to as a health care social worker, helps patients and their families cope with illnesses. Medical social workers help patients understand their illness and the resources available to them. As an advocate for the patient, a social worker assures that patients’ emotional and social needs are met through their medical treatment.

People they work with: Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, discharge coordinators, administrative staff, and patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly as well as their families

Where they work: Hospitals, outpatient centers, hospices, rehabilitation facilities, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and home health agencies

Career outlook for a medical social worker

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of social workers, including medical social workers, to grow much faster than average. This is due to the aging baby-boom population who are more likely to rely on social workers to provide support.

With additional experience and training, a medical social worker can move into managerial roles such as a supervisor, director or program manager.

Medical social worker programs at Mayo Clinic

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