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Medical Social Worker

Overview and Key Facts

two women having a discussion
Education
Education
Master's degree
Median Pay
Median Pay
$60,840
Job Growth
Job Growth
11.10%
(Above US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031
199,300

What Do They Do?

A medical social worker could...

Overview Listen to this section

No one likes to go to the hospital, or get a bad diagnosis, but medical social workers can help patients manage their condition, emotionally and practically. For example, they assist in communication between patients and health care providers, so that patient questions get answered and patient concerns are heard. They advise and educate the patient and family members about the patient's condition; refer the patient to social services that can help with finances, housing, and legal aid; and arrange home care, meal delivery, and special equipment when the patient is discharged. Medical social workers are a vital part of a patient's health care team.
In this video, you will meet Jennifer Perez, a social worker for a shock trauma unit, who likes helping people at a time when they feel like they cannot find help, on a day that may feel like the worst day ever.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Medical Social Worker?


  1. Active Listening: ?
  2. Social Perceptiveness: ?
  3. Speaking: ?
  4. Critical Thinking: ?
  5. Coordination: ?

Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks a Medical Social Worker might do:
  • Collaborate with other professionals to evaluate patients' medical or physical condition and to assess client needs.
  • Advocate for clients or patients to resolve crises.
  • 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.
  • Investigate child abuse or neglect cases and take authorized protective action when necessary.
  • Counsel clients and patients in individual and group sessions to help them overcome dependencies, recover from illness, and adjust to life.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress according to measurable goals described in treatment and care plan.
  • Plan discharge from care facility to home or other care facility.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in clients' status.
  • Identify environmental impediments to client or patient progress through interviews and review of patient records.
  • Organize support groups or counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting the client or patient.
  • Utilize consultation data and social work experience to plan and coordinate client or patient care and rehabilitation, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Plan and conduct programs to combat social problems, prevent substance abuse, or improve community health and counseling services.
  • Supervise and direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Oversee Medicaid- and Medicare-related paperwork and recordkeeping in hospitals.
  • Develop or advise on social policy and assist in community development.
  • Conduct social research to advance knowledge in the social work field.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming a Medical Social Worker

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On the Job

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