Medical Social Worker

Help patients deal with the mental and emotional stress of being sick.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$29,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Medical Social Workers do?

Mind and body form a whole, and when one part suffers, so does the other. Your work as a Medical Social Worker tackles the complex emotional and mental issues that patients dealing with health problems often face.

In this branch of social work, as a Medical Social Worker, you spend your time in hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. Above all else, the patient’s well-being is your top concern when you’re a Medical Social Worker. Together with the patient’s Doctors and other medical experts, you evaluate the patient’s current mental condition, and determine what treatments are needed for recovery.

Though you work as part of a team, you have to put your foot down from time to time. For instance, a Doctor may want to send a patient home and have them receive at-home care, but you can clearly see that the patient is not mentally or emotionally well enough to leave the hospital yet.

To understand and treat your patients, you constantly interview and observe them. You determine what resources they need to cope with their illness, whether they need help due to mental issues like forgetfulness, or simply need group therapy to cope with the stress of having a life-threatening disease.

Once you know what the patient needs, you find ways to provide it. When the patient leaves the hospital, you have resources in place to help them. This could be a live-in Aide to help with daily tasks or a Therapist to counsel them. While Doctors focus on curing physical problems, you dig deeper to promote healthy mental and emotional growth.

Should I be a Medical Social Worker?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Group Social Worker, Home Based Primary Care Social Worker, Hospice Home Care Social Worker, Hospice Social Worker See More

    How to become a Medical Social Worker

    Most Medical Social Workers have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaai9c&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2811%25%29|master%27s+%2885%25%29|doctorate+%284%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,85
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