Date of Dissertation
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Robin R. Whitebird
This banded dissertation explores medical social work education as it relates to teaching social work students the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective in a healthcare setting. In addition, this banded dissertation identifies deficits in current curricula related to medical social work education and barriers to effective medical social work practice. This banded dissertation consists of three separate but closely related scholarly products. Bronstein’s Model of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, the Biopsychosocial-spiritual model, and the authors lived experiences serve as the conceptual framework that supports the findings of this research.
The first scholarly product is a conceptual article that examines the history of medical social work as it relates to educating social workers for social work practice in a healthcare setting. The purpose of Product One was to explore the history of medical social work education and the current deficits in social work curricula related to educating students for effective medical social work practice. Product one findings indicated that social workers are not adequately prepared for practice in a healthcare setting and that generalist social work education is not sufficient for educating future medical social workers.
The second scholarly product is an exploratory qualitative research study aimed at identifying the barriers to effective medial social work practice. Twenty-three current medical social workers participated in the study. Three major themes were identified as barriers to effective medical social work culture: medical culture, lack of knowledge, and limited exposure.
The third and final product of this banded dissertation is a peer-reviewed presentation of scholarly product one at the 2019 BPD Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. The primary purpose of the presentation was to educate social work educators on medical social work practice. The presentation provided attendees with a detailed overview of the roles and responsibilities associated with medical social work practice, the history of medical social work education, and current deficits in social work education as relates to educating students for practice in a healthcare setting. In addition, social justice issues were addressed especially as they relate to healthcare and medical social work practice. In summary this body of scholarly work contributes to the existing body of knowledge regarding medical social work education and the barriers associated with effective medical social work practice. Implications for social work education include developing medical social work curriculum, strengthening existing social work curricula to include content relevant to medical social work practice, and strengthening medical social work field practicums. Implications for research suggest that further research needs be conducted on programs that offer medical social work courses and/or tracks and more extensive research needs to be done with current medical social workers.
Matthews, Katrinna M.. (2019). Advancing Social Work Education for Practice in Healthcare: Transforming Education and Bridging the Classroom to Practice Gap. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: https://sophia.stkate.edu/dsw/50