Psychiatric Social Worker : Careers in Mental Health
- Mark McGraw
This video is about Psychiatric Social Workers and is part of a Mental Health Career video series created by the Oregon State Hospital Museum.
Social work is a broad career type, but within the Oregon State Hospital, one of the main focuses for social workers are discharging patients and helping get them back into the community. Discharge is discussed with patients from the first meeting that their care team has at the Hospital, and it is the social workers job to make sure that the patient is ready to leave and has all the resources necessary to be successful after they have left. This may entail finding the patient proper housing in the community or providing them with access to outpatient therapy or group sessions that will give them the best chance possible to feel and be successful in their lives and in the lives of others. If a patient has an unsuccessful discharge and must be readmitted, social workers play a key role in determining where something may have gone wrong and how to mitigate that for the future.
This type of work requires several key components such as astute organizational skills on the part of the social worker and the ability to work with patients on an individualized level. This organization is truly key because, without it, the patient’s progress is unclear or their needs might be left unattended. Therefore, a social worker writes chart notes after their encounters with patients. To determine the best treatment and discharge plan of a patient, the social worker must interact with them on an individual level because every single patient has their own path. They’re individuals, and individual treatment in necessary. Therefore, social workers often work one-on-one with patients, discussing the patient’s goals and worries about the future. This information is then used to help the interdisciplinary team create treatment plans that help the patient move forward.