What Types of Social Work Careers are in Hospitals?

Students who are studying to work in public health should consider what types of Social Work careers are in hospitals while they are still in school. While all social workers are in a fulfilling field where their mission is to help the population they work with, there are a variety of different settings that graduates can work in and titles they can hold. Pinpointing which setting is going to help you achieve your career goals is key. Here are some of the social work positions you will find available in hospitals:

Substance Abuse Social Worker

In hospitals and other rehabilitation centers that offer patient care, there is a huge need for substance abuse social workers. As drug use and addiction become an increasingly serious problem for a growing percentage of the population, the demand for professionals in this specialized area of the field is only projected to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for 60,300 more professionals by 2026.

It can be a demanding specialty area to work in, but social workers who have the patience to deal with addiction, recovery, and relapse will find this role very rewarding. Counselors working in hospitals tend to earn a larger income than the average substance abuse counselor in a different setting.

Public Health Social Worker

You don't have to be a licensed nurse practitioner or a medical doctor to work with patients in hospitals. Public health social workers within hospitals can work in a variety of different departments including emergency rooms, pediatrics, ICU, hospice, and more. Their primary role is to work as patient advocates to ensure they are making the best decisions. They can also facilitate communication and help with paperwork as needed by patients and caregivers.

Medical Discharge Planner

A medical discharge planner is a medical social worker who works as a case manager who helps to link families with the resources they need outside of the hospital before they will be discharged. They are also available to help make appointments for follow-ups so that the patient receives the ongoing care they need to maintain their health.

A discharge planner's role is to help improve the well-being and the overall health of their patients by helping to connect them to healthcare even when being discharged from a hospital setting. They are familiar with community resources and the health system as a whole and will work with doctors, nurses, pharmacies, and nutritionists to ensure that patients are well-connected and informed prior to their departure.

According to the BLS, the job outlook for social workers as a whole is to grow by 16 percent, but professionals in the healthcare setting show growth of 20 percent. There are many different places that social workers can seek open positions. They can work with government agencies like Child Welfare Services, with rehabilitation centers, with public schools, with mental health facilities, with insurance companies, and with healthcare facilities.

Related Resource: Top 25 Christian Colleges for a Social Work Degree Program

It is a must for students to consider where the best fit is when they are searching for jobs to apply to or when they are specializing their education. Look at the types of Social Work careers that are in hospitals and look for the best opportunities with the highest pay rates.