Fields of practice – medical and health care

In general health care, social workers deal with people who have all kinds of illnesses and conditions at all stages of life. In large hospitals, a social worker may be assigned to a particular ward such as maternity, burns or oncology. Community health workers focus on supporting people with health concerns in their homes, including the frail elderly, or mothers with young children.

Because illness is often an unexpected and traumatic event, social workers involved in medical and health care frequently deal with people who are in crisis, so the need for some knowledge of health conditions and their impacts is central to understanding the role.