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Healthcare Social Worker

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Master's degree

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What They Do

Healthcare Social Workers Career Video

About This Career

Provides individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family caregivers. Provides patients with information and counseling, and makes referrals for other services. May also provide case and care management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Family and Community Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Advocates for clients or patients to resolve crises.
  • Educates clients about end-of-life symptoms and options to assist them in making informed decisions.
  • Collaborates with other professionals to evaluate patients' medical or physical condition and to assess client needs.
  • Refers 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.
  • Utilizes consultation data and social work experience to plan and coordinate client or patient care and rehabilitation, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Monitors, evaluates, and records client progress according to measurable goals described in treatment and care plan.
  • Identifies environmental impediments to client or patient progress through interviews and review of patient records.
  • Counsels clients and patients in individual and group sessions to help them overcome dependencies, recover from illness, and adjust to life.
  • Modifies treatment plans to comply with changes in clients' status.
  • Organizes support groups or counsels family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting the client or patient.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Psychosocial Coordinator
  • Clinical Social Worker — Evaluates client needs, performs mental health counseling and designs treatment plans, along with other duties that involve interaction with a client's family members or health care professionals such as physical therapists, registered nurses or physician.
  • LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker)
  • Hospice Social Worker
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Nephrology Social Worker
  • Oncology Social Worker
  • Renal Social Worker
  • Social Work Case Manager
  • Social Worker — Helps individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organizations develop the skills and resources they need to enhance social functioning and provide counseling, therapy and referral to other supportive social services.


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733