Hospital Social Workers in the US
The article is addressed to a wide range of readers, from the public unfamiliar with the topic of social work generally to the experts who have not had a chance to know the specifi cs of hospital social work in the United States. The goal is to provide an up to date overview of the subject in the current post-presidential election climate. The article does not provide a deep analysis of social work methods. It rather analyses the selected characteristics that are important for defi ning the hospital social worker’s current and future role in the US health care system. It briefl y describes the development of the hospital social worker’s status and his or her duties since the beginning of the twentieth century, the current job characteristics, and the educational necessities. It also compares their salaries in diff erent regions in the US. The same method is used when dealing with the value of the hospital social work and the negative aspects of the job. Two research studies are introduced and the results of each are compared in order to prove and understand those issues. In the last part of the article, the current situation in the health care area is briefl y described, focusing on the consequences of the cost-cutting political eff orts for hospitals. Future demographical, cultural and racial issues in the US are brought up and the predicted fi gures are compared with the past ones. Those are put into the context with the hospital social worker’s current and expected future role in the health care area. The conclusion synthesises used data and information and put forward the crucial changes needed in the future hospital social work field.
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