Job Duties and Responsibilities of Social Workers

The job of a social worker is often a challenging one, helping people with difficulty coping to find mechanisms and skills which can better their lives and experiences.

For many, assisting families and individuals is only one aspect of the job, which can also include duties such as research, planning or policy development and advocacy for services and underprivileged people. Social work can be the kind of job that requires plenty of overtime, and separating the emotional aspect from the duties required can be a difficult undertaking.

Specializations

There are many different types of social work within the field, all requiring a different set of skills and knowledge to be utilized in order to make the most difference. At the heart of all of these, however, is the respect for different circumstances. Social workers can be required to aid with issues directly caused by trauma, disability, poor family circumstances or abuse. Some social workers prefer to focus their skills on one area of expertise by going into specific fields.

  • Family, child or school social work involves being directly responsible for aiding a family or child in finding services or coping mechanisms to help them. These may include victims of abuse, neglect or other difficult family situations.
  • Public health social workers are often responsible for helping people who have been diagnosed with chronic, life threatening or altering diseases and disorders, helping connect patients with plans and resources in order to help them cope. These social workers are often employed at health care centers, assisted living homes or in hospitals.
  • Addictions and mental health social workers offer support and services to those struggling with unhealthy grounding techniques, connecting them with facilities that serve to teach healthier behaviors and get patients back on track.

Other Social Work Tasks

Administrative duties and paperwork are generally a must for social workers, no matter what their specialization. Social workers are generally employed from 9-5, but those who offer emergency services in hospitals and other areas can also be assigned shift work. For many social workers, outside visits and meetings are a constant challenge, as well as high case loads and understaffing. Many social workers find that despite challenges presented by these strains, this field is very satisfying as a career path.

In case you’re still unsure of what exactly a social worker does on a daily basis, check out the helpful list of tasks below to get a better idea of the job is all about, provide by O*NET OnLine:

  • Advocate for clients or patients to resolve crises.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to evaluate patients’ medical or physical condition and to assess client needs.
  • Refer patient, client, or family to community resources to assist in recovery from mental or physical illness and to provide access to services such as financial assistance, legal aid, housing, job placement or education.
  • Counsel clients and patients in individual and group sessions to help them overcome dependencies, recover from illness, and adjust to life.
  • Utilize consultation data and social work experience to plan and coordinate client or patient care and rehabilitation, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Plan discharge from care facility to home or other care facility.
  • Organize support groups or counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting the client or patient.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in clients’ status.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress according to measurable goals described in treatment and care plan.
  • Identify environmental impediments to client or patient progress through interviews and review of patient records.

Popular Online MSW Programs

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Capella University — Capella University offers a MS in Social & Community Services. In this program you will strengthen your ability to advocate for and facilitate positive change in your community. You will increase your understanding of cultural awareness, social change, and public policy.

Walden University — If you are interested in an online Social Work degree, Walden University has a several programs exploring the various fields of Social including addictions and sustance abuse, disaster and crisis, family matters, and Social Work administration. These programs are all doctoral degrees, require candidates to hold at least a master's and sometimes requiring experience in the field.

University of New England — The Master of Social Work at the University of New England has an online option that offers comprehensive curriculum presented by compassionate, experienced faculty with the expertise and real-world knowledge to help you succeed. Courses include: Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Work Research I and II, and Social Welfare Policy and Programs.

Saint Leo University — You can earn an Master of Social Work at Saint Leo University. All students in this program are required to complete four interdisciplinary Foundations Seminars along with courses in Social Work. Students will also take four advanced courses and three electives.

Our Lady of the Lake University — The Master of Social Work program from Our Lady of the Lake University is designed for working professionals and students interested in social services leadership and advance direct practice. The program also emphasizes service to Hispanic families and communities. OLLU is a private, Catholic college located near San Antonio and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Kaplan University — If you are looking for an MPA program, check out Kaplan University. This program will provide you with the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of policy development and implementation through direct government action. The courses focus on: goals of public policy, and tools and methods used to implement policy.

Post University — Post University offers a Masters of Public Administration degree that is set up for public sector, non-profit and military personnel who are looking to develop management, organizational and financial skills. This program focuses almost exclusively on the public sector and prepares students to apply functional business knowledge and decision making skills.

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