Interdisciplinary Practice in Health Care, Mental Health Settings, and Public Health
Social work is a core health care profession, connected to mental health, physical health and well-being, and public health practice (Ruth & Marshall, 2017). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers in health care provide individuals, families, and groups support needed to cope with illnesses (USBLS, 2017). In addition, according to the NASW (2018), social workers advocate for policies that reduce disparities and improve access to care, particularly with vulnerable populations. In 2017, approximately 167,000 social workers were employed in healthcare settings. Employment opportunities for social workers in health care practice continue to rise.
Given the growth of your profession in the health care sector and the nature of the services provided, developing a skill set for effective interdisciplinary practice is essential for professional social workers in health care settings (Supiano & Berry, 2013). Furthermore, with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, professional social workers have the opportunity to assume critical leadership roles to implement health care reform as members of interdisciplinary teams (Lynch, Greeno, Teich, & Delany, 2016).
The nursing and social work professions have complementary missions, and the research literature on the collaboration between these two professions dates back to the 1970s. Nursing and social work professionals comprise some of the most effective teams in IC settings, providing both medical and psychosocial support for clients and families (Bennett, Hauck, Radford, & Bindahneem, 2016). In fact, some of the literature describes the collaboration between nurses and social workers as irreplaceable (Hoshina, 2015).
Finally, interdisciplinary collaborations between professional social workers and other types of mental health professionals are invaluable in delivering high quality, effective client care. Social workers working alongside other mental health professionals must navigate complex interpersonal situations while remaining focused on the best interest of the client (Okech & Geroski, 2017). IC in mental health settings is described as a best practice and is key to the effective delivery of mental health services. Professional social workers often work alongside psychologists, psychiatrists, and marriage and family therapists when working with overlapping client systems. For example, a social worker might work as a member of an IC providing evidence-based interventions to an individual who is also under the care of a psychiatrist for medication management.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Bennett, E., Hauck, Y., Radford, G., & Bindahneem, S. (2016). An interprofessional exploration of nursing and social work roles when working jointly with families. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 30(2), 232–237.
Hoshina, M. (2015). Study of collaboration methods between nurses and medical social workers during facility transfer of end-of-life cancer patients. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 2(4), 264270.
Lynch, S., Greeno, C., Teich, J., & Delany, P. (2016). Opportunities for social work under the Affordable Care Act: A call for action. Social Work in Health Care, 55(9), 651–674.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2018). Health [Web resource].
Okech, J. E., & Geroski, A. M. (2017). Interdisciplinary training: Preparing counselors for collaborative practice. Professional Counselor, 5(4), 458-472.
Ruth, B. J., & Marshall, J. W. (2017). A history of social work in public health. American Journal of Public Health, 107, S236–S242.
Supiano, K. P., & Berry, P. H. (2013). Developing interdisciplinary skills and professional confidence in palliative care social work students. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(3), 387–396.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017, May). Occupational employment and wages, May 2017, healthcare social workers [Web resource].
This week, you explored IC between social workers and other types of health care professionals. For this assignment, review the following case study:
Ms. Anderson is caring for her 4-year-old identical twin sons along with two older daughters in a small apartment in a rural community. The twins need medical infusion services to control hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder. Ms. Anderson’s nephew recently died from the disorder and she, as well as the other children in the household, have a profound fear response to any bleeding symptoms the twins experience. Also, the family faces a set of other challenges. The children’s father is not present, nor does he contribute financially. The father’s relationship with Ms. Anderson is strained and can be violent at times. Ms. Anderson does not have any other family support in the area. She recently lost her job at a grocery store and would like to start her own business to allow her more flexibility to care for her medically fragile children. Ms. Anderson has had limited training on how to manage her sons’ disorder and how to appropriately administer the life-saving infusion. The family participates in the Medicaid program for health care coverage, which allows for limited nursing services in the home. The nursing visits are complicated, as the children are often not well behaved when providers are in the home to administer infusion or training. The nurses referred the family to a MSW social worker to address the behavioral and pain/fear issues. The RN and MSW were able to arrange joint in-home visits with the family. The MSW worked with the mother on her needle phobia as well as other long-range goals and referrals for the family. The MSW provided mindfulness-based stress reduction, behavioral management for the children, and grief counseling regarding the nephew. The RN provided the infusion/hemophilia education, cognitive restructuring regarding the needle phobia, and pain quantification. After several months of the IC visit approach, Ms. Anderson demonstrated an increased knowledge base of the bleeding disorder, progress on the needle phobia, and stress reduction via the mindfulness-based techniques. The children became more cooperative. Ultimately, the family achieved complete independence from requiring the in-home visits within 60 days.
Based on the information in the case study, address the following:
Explain the distinct roles of each of the professionals in this scenario. Indicate how these roles are similar and how they differ with examples to support your findings.
Determine which specific factors in the scenario necessitated a social work perspective.
Analyze the specific social work skills the social worker employed in this situation to increase the effectiveness of the IC.
Recommend additional skills, resources, or services the social worker could have offered to this family to improve outcomes. (Think specifically about macro social work skills that could be used to advocate for this client on a broader platform.)
Support your assignment with at least three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including seminal articles, may be included.
Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages
Your assignment should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.