How Do I Become a Director of Social Work at a Nursing Home?

In order to become a director of social work, job candidates will need an accredited master’s degree and the right managerial employment experience. Job candidates must first earn a bachelor’s degree and work in the field of social work or long-term care management.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

First, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). These degree programs emphasize the commitment to client safety, well-being and independence. They also explore social and economic justice themes. This educational experience prepares graduates to become entry-level social workers who provide competent and effective services to diverse clients, groups, organizations, and communities. The goal of these programs is to produce social workers who are informed and effective leaders who promote social justice and physical well-being. Workers are prepared to deal with at-risk and challenging individuals through tackling serious issues and client advocacy. These programs offer classes in psychology, human services, social work policy and historical privilege and oppression.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs

Earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work

A director of social work must be licensed by the state, so they will need to graduate from a master’s program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It is ideal to pursue a specialization in adult services or gerontology. These programs will focus on enhancing the mental health and physical well-being of older adults and seniors. Students will learn about mental health, behavioral health care, health and wellness and substance abuse and recovery for older adults. The curriculum will introduce the theories of neuroscience, human behavior, clinical practice, social systems and community programs. Students will learn how to use evidence-based research to guide clinical practices within nursing homes. Students will develop competency in critical thinking, integrated research and program evaluation.

Work as a Social Services Manager

Social services managers in nursing homes oversee programs designed to meet the needs of senior patients. Social services managers coordinate all new admissions, supervise various staff and conduct therapeutic groups. They evaluate social, medical and family information in order to determine service needs and recommend referrals to various programs. They coordinate social service activities with other departments and work with administrative staff to develop services and expand programs. Social services managers participate in daily treatment team meetings and maintain professional relationships with other facilities to develop community resources. They must have skills related to assessment, treatment planning, service coordination and clinical record keeping. Excellent knowledge of therapeutic actions, geriatric needs, common medications and psycho-social techniques are a must.

Develop The Right Skills

Those who want to become social work directors must develop the right skills and qualifications, which includes leadership skills. They must know how to champions change and innovation while supporting staff to maximize their expertise and team work abilities. They must learn how to tactfully challenge the status quo, such as inefficient processes or ineffective policies, while also motivating staff to positively engage and interact with clients. They must be a genuinely strong advocate for clients and takes pride in professionally developing staff. Adept problem-solving skills, a flexible approach to decision making and instinctive honesty and transparency are a must. Social work directors will need fiscal and administrative acumen as well as program management skills.

Those who want to become a director of social work must have a graduate education and management experience in nursing homes.