Nurse Social Work Practitioner: A New Professional for Health Care Settings

By Schneiderman, Janet U.; Waugaman, Wynne R. et al. | Health and Social Work, May 2008 | Go to article overview

Nurse Social Work Practitioner: A New Professional for Health Care Settings


Schneiderman, Janet U., Waugaman, Wynne R., Flynn, Marilyn S., Health and Social Work


Hospital systems are merging, cutting back, and dismantling as a result of the shift in delivery of care to ambulatory settings and the continuing shift to managed care (Berkman, 1996; Pecukonis, Cornelius, & Parrish, 2003). Cutbacks and downsizing are occurring at a greater rate than hospital social work leaders predicted (Mizrahi & Berger, 2005). Social workers are often frustrated and challenged by increasing demands of a health care system in crisis. As a result of the market-driven cost-containment strategy that hospitals are adopting, many social workers are forced to either adapt or leave their jobs. The social workers who remain must do more with less, with an eye on the bottom line. Even field education of social work students in hospitals has been compromised by these changes (Globerman & Bogo, 2002).

Along with the threats to social work has come a call for a more integrated health care workforce, with fewer silos of practice and an emphasis on how the patient (consumer) experiences the system (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2003; O'Neil, 2005). The present silo system is burdened with a multitude of differing scopes of practice and responsibilities for delivery of patient care. The integration of the varied health care professions, including social work, is made more difficult by the early discharge of patients from acute care facilities requiring coordination with continuing care settings such as nursing homes, and the increasing use of outpatient departments and surgicenters for serious and extensive surgeries that used to require inpatient days both before and after surgery.

The traditional roles of social work within health care settings are at risk of becoming obsolescent unless social work adapts to the changing health care settings. Increasingly, patients do not suffer from acute simple diseases that require short-stay hospitalization, but from multiple, chronic health problems that require predictable episodic need for care (Berkman, 1996). Social workers can meet the challenges of the "new patient" by restructuring their scope of practice to include more emphasis on community care and case management services to help patients access the myriad of health and social services, as well as by helping patients deal with the accompanying psychological and social issues and empowering patients to make knowledgeable choices (Cowles, 2003).

The University of Southern California's (USC) School of Social Work has developed a transdisciplinary educational option, the nurse social work practitioner (NSWP) that will meet the demand of the new health care service system. USC is currently the only school of social work with this option. We define transdisciplinary, as the fusion of knowledge and practice techniques from multiple disciplines. This transdisciplinary role is client focused rather than provider focused and differs, therefore, from interdisciplinary education and practice wherein connections are made but each provider retains his or her own distinct disciplinary approach (Massey, 2001). The NSWP option was developed in 2004 to recruit registered nurses (RN) with baccalaureate degrees as students in the Master's of Social Work (MSW) program. Thus Far, we have admitted 11 students, three of whom graduated in May 2006. The program was designed to meet a community need and not to increase the numbers of MSW applicants, because it is anticipated that the number of RNs applying for this program will remain low. An integrated case management curriculum was created to bridge the health and social welfare worlds to holistically meet the needs of patients, families, and communities. Community health care agencies helped shape the educational program, develop the practice roles, and design the curriculum.

THE CHANGING ROLE OF SOCIAL WORKERS IN HEALTH CARE SETTINGS

The Society for Social Work Administrators in Health Care and NASW commissioned a study in 1994 to look at the changes that were occurring in hospital social work departments (Berger et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Nurse Social Work Practitioner: A New Professional for Health Care Settings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.