What Social Work Jobs are Available in Public Health?

Social WorkerThere are many fulfilling social work jobs available in public health for students who are passionate about helping others and promoting positive social changes. Below introduces some of the most appealing social work jobs for students.

Public Health Social Work Basics

Public health social work is centered on the fact that a person’s health is inexplicably intertwined with their immediate environment. Therefore, healthy environments can directly impact a person’s health in a positive way. Public health social work focuses on the general well-being of local citizens and communities. Social workers who specialize in public health may concentrate their work on small towns, big cities and states or regions. Their primary job is to ensure the health of their communities and the individuals in them. They accomplish this goal through designing and implementing community-wide programs that focus on specific problems, such as disease transmission or poor nutrition. They also work with target groups that are suffering from serious community-based health and well-being problems. This includes crime, poverty, homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse. A vibrant, healthy community ensures a better quality of life for the local citizens.

Public Health Social Worker

Social work jobs available in public health begin with public health social workers. These professionals perform basic tasks that benefit the community’s collective health. For example, their most important objective is to conduct comprehensive research on their community. Common sources of information include health databases, community statistics and face-to-face interviews. Armed with this statistical data, public health social workers can identify the most pressing problems in order to find creative solutions. In fact, the process of recognizing and publicizing these serious health concerns will help community leaders raise awareness, build public support and receive support and funding. After the most serious community-based health problems are clearly defined, public health social workers will devise plans to solve current problems and prevent future occurrences. Depending on the seriousness of the health problem, they may attempt to fix these issues at an individual or group level.

Medical Social Worker

The demand for medical social workers is steadily rising as health care costs and services become more complex and inaccessible for many people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical social workers help patients and their families through guiding them to appropriate hospital, community, state and federal resources and programs. Some medical social workers interact directly with health care professionals to create effective discharge plans that help meet the patient’s individual needs. Others will provide customer service and consultation services for patients who need financial assistance. Still, some medical social workers facilitate internal and external support groups designed to give attendees advice, encouragement and social interaction opportunities. Finally, traveling medical social workers reach out to and follow up with patients in hospices, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They must ensure that their patients, who may be in facilities with limited staff and resources, are properly cared for and treated well. This will involve communicating with various health care professionals and ensuring that medical records and documentation is accurately completed. Medical social workers must have an education that centers on health care, public health and social work.

Related Resource: Social Work Careers in Elder Care

Public health-based social work ensures that individuals receive proper health care treatment and access to helpful resources. To be sure, there are excellent social work jobs available in public health for students with a master’s degree and standard health care certification.