The Privilege of Medical Social Work

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Medical social work is a privelege

I totally agree with you. I also had the privilege to work with terminally ill patients in Hospice and my life was greatly impacted. I feared to even think about the word "death" and more over that stage in life. You see before I had the privilege to work with Hospice and the patients I thought about death as "the end", but as I had the privilege to work with the patients and their family I grew to understand the following:
While someone might be dying "as medically defined", their "life" is still alive and will be even after their physical death. You see I learned to appreciate the meaning of "life" in all its forms and circumstances. I learned so much about the words "sorry", compassion, dignity, love, HOPE, determination, selflessness, integrity and most of all how to have a dignified death! You see my patients reminded me how important it is to be humble enough to accept who we are and in that process also accept others as they are. To be afraid but to have the determination to face those fears. To be humble enough to ask for forgiveness even if it is not granted. So many lessons learned for me that have defined me professionally and personally today.. It was an honor and privilege to work as a medical social worker and I would do it again any day!

Jessenia more than 4 years ago

Pediatric Medical SW

This story warmed my heart in more ways than one. Every day I report to the trenches in the heart of it all from medical diagnosis, to abuse neglect and direct impacts of poverty I face it all as a medical social worker. It is a privelige to be apart of each families journey as they navigate through life's twists and turns. This is an amazing article and something I feel strongly daily. Some days are though but most days I am blessed and amazed at profound blessing of being able to engage with families who have opened their life up to me and out medical teams.

LaToya Mobley more than 5 years ago

Medical Social Work

Thank you for such a wonderful example for what it's like to be a medical social worker. It was the best decision I ever made! I have worked in public health- high risk pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, sub-acute, long term care, community based health care, in-patient- ER/psych, and now with Veterans with the VA providing care to Vet's who are catastrophically disabled. It's not an easy job but I can't think of anything as rewarding. Over the many years I have had clients on my caseload who served in WWI, holocaust survivors, VIP's to the homeless, men who stormed the beaches on Normandy, raised the flag at Iwo Jima, a woman who in 1915 fell to the ground thinking it was the rapture when she first witnessed an air plane in flight, served farmers and learned that donkeys are mean, been involved in a high speed chase by a group of women thinking I was trying to score on "their man", have been covered in roaches, seen the underside of humanity, convinced through kindness, a gang member who had been shot, to talk when he had refused to speak to anyone in the ER. I have been with clients as they died so that their deaths would be witnessed and that they would not be alone in their final moments. My own list can on and on and I know that you have yours as well. There are few jobs where you can hear history from a person who experienced it first hand. I told my son that many times my job entails holding the hands of people walking through hell. It's such an honor to be a social worker and for as many lives that I have touched they have touched mine!

Susan Ballow LCSW more than 6 years ago

SW in a trauma hospital

I'm 90 days into medical SW and I must say I ❤ the variety

Retta more than 5 years ago

Dignity Therapy Legacy Document

Can anyone provide details on the Dignity Therapy Legacy Document mentioned in the above article? Thanks! Cheryl Hasegawa, LCSW, Satellite Dialysis

Cheryl more than 7 years ago

Medical Social Work

How does one become a medical social worker? The reason I as is because some employers make it seem that one has to specialize in medical social work. I have an LMSW and have been searching for a job since 2012 but no one will hire me because my internship was in a substance abuse agency.

Chatiwa Manyepedza-Cotter more than 7 years ago

Getting into medical social work

Social work skills are transferrable from one setting to another to a large extent. However, if other applicants already have medical experience, they will most likely hire the more experienced person. You might try doing some volunteer work in hospice to get some experience. Sometimes, you can sign on as a PRN (as needed) social worker in a medical setting and start getting experience that way. more than 7 years ago


Chatiwa, another venue for you to try is AmeriCorp/VistaCorp. You will be paid a very small stipend for agreeing to work for a year in assisting poor people across the United States. You may very well be able to find a source using this near where you live. Also, if you are employed using your social work skills, you may use this on your applications as job experience.

Milinda Houlette, MA, LSW more than 7 years ago

Medical social work

I work with patients who have kidney failure and who come to our out-patient medical unit three days a week for their life-saving treatment. I have long-standing professional relationships with them year after year. I assess for psychosocial change over time. I help them find solutions to life event changes. Those changes are as varied as the stars! That is what I love about medical social work. I am part of an interdisciplinary team of other professionals meeting the bio-psy-social needs of a patient's life. The team approach to patient care is exciting and rewarding because we meet regularly to discover ways to help a patient improve their quality of life. I have an office on one side of the building. The rest of our large building is the patient treatment area. I call it my sanctuary. It is a place where toxins in the blood and excess fluid is removed from a patient's body, but it is also a place where the seat of emotions - the heart - gets to beat again. It is a place where I can coach, support and encourage patients to keep moving their lives forward on life-sustaining dialysis, or even when they have medical set-backs, such as amputations or re-admits to the hospital. They "lose heart" at times. I cannot. I am their medical social worker.

Evelyn Watts, MSW, BSW, LSW more than 7 years ago

to all social workers with big heart

A social work is not just a profession. It is the total approach. And there is something in it that cannot be explained..something extraordinary role the "passion" yes, it is. The passion we have to help other people in need is no off duty. And with that, I'm so proud I'm a social worker!

cheryniel nuda more than 7 years ago

Medical social work

Kristy, thank you (gracias)for your words written with such compassion for the work we daily perform as medical social workers. I am proud to stand with you, I am honored each day to be ever so humbled as a witness to pain, suffering and fear only to marvel at the strength our patients grasp as they allow us to hold their story from moment to moment.

Patricia more than 7 years ago

Medical Social Worker

I have worked as a hospice social worker for nine years and just recently moved to a different job. I miss those journeys with patients. It was the most rewarding and spiritually enlightening job I have ever held!

Shelley Simon more than 7 years ago

Hospice Social Work

I too am a hospice Social Worker. I find it to be a sacred honor to walk through those last days an hours of this life. And to hear families say "We couldn't have done it without your team" is more than enough to keep me in this work.

Shirley Farrar Ridley more than 7 years ago

Responsive to working as a social worker in a hospital

"Oh I couldn't do that, I'm too sensitive." Yes, it is best left to us old boots LOL

Carolyn more than 7 years ago

I am a proud medical social worker....

I feel privileged to companion those who I meet in what ever situation they may be in. I will walk with any culture and any situation..... I can hold my head up high when my day is done and not take the problems of the world home with me!! Kristy....You sound like a great tribute to your/our profession!!!

Marianne more than 7 years ago

Thank you for the inspiration

What a beautiful tribute to the work that you do, and what an inspiration to those of us who are entering the field and wondering if we can handle the pain that often comes with this profession. Thank you for sharing this!

Michele Freiler more than 7 years ago

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