Social workers on health care teams enhance patient care
Team-based care for both inpatient and outpatient medical and mental health treatment is critically important for many clients with chronic health conditions. When social workers are on the care team, they can advocate for and help clients with other needs that might not otherwise be addressed and that might affect clients’ ability to maintain or improve their health (often referred to as the social determinants of health). Social workers can, for example, provide mental health counseling, help clients secure affordable and safe housing, set up caregivers or transportation, or help clients access patient assistance programs when they cannot afford their medications. A blog post, “Interprofessional Teams: What they are and why they matter in social work practice,” published in 2018 on the University of Utah’s College of Social Work webpage provides more details on the critical importance of the social worker to the health care team and to the patients they work with.
Health care social workers need quality CE designed to train them in evidence-based best practice, whether they are working with teams or meeting individually with clients. In addition, trainings designed for the interprofessional team can help all team members better understand one another’s roles and how all can work together for better patient outcomes.
“Challenges Faced by Social Workers as Members of Interprofessional Collaborative Health Care Teams,” an article in the NASW’s journal Health & Social Work, offers insight into areas that CE providers might want to address in CE courses for health care teams. The article discusses challenges social workers might face regarding the clarity of their role on the team, challenges the team might face, and possible solutions to these challenges. One of the suggested solutions is education. ACE providers might consider how they can meet the educational needs of health care teams by offering courses that address the challenges identified in the article.
If your organization has not been offering CE to social workers working in health care, you may want to look at some of the resources below for more information about social work practice in the health care field.
- The National Association of Social Workers website devotes a whole section to information and resources related to social workers, health, and health care, along with standards for social work practice in health care settings.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics website has good data about some of the specific professional areas within the health care field for social workers, the number of social workers who work in each of those areas in the United States, and the numbers of healthcare social workers employed in each state. This information may be helpful to CE providers who are considering what types of training to offer and where to offer training specific to social workers in health care.
ACE to exhibit at ACEHP conference
ACE will be exhibiting at the Alliance for Continuing Education in Health Professions Conference, January 23–26, 2019, at National Harbor, Maryland. Our goal is to ensure that CE providers who are offering CE to health care professionals know they can offer CE to social workers through ACE. If someone in your organization is attending this conference, please make sure to stop by our booth to chat. Feel free to bring any questions you have about ACE and about offering health care related CE to social workers.
ACE collaborates with Joint Accreditation
ASWB became an associate member of Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™ in 2018. Beginning in 2019, providers accredited by Joint Accreditation may expand their offerings to social workers by adding ACE approval of CE relevant to social workers. Current ACE providers who already have—or apply for and are granted—Joint Accreditation approval can now choose to offer ASWB ACE social work continuing education credit through their Joint Accreditation approval without having to maintain separate approval by both organizations. This is possible because, as Jennifer Henkel, ASWB’s member services and strategic initiatives senior director says, “Joint Accreditation standards are just as, if not more, rigorous than ASWB ACE standards, which made us comfortable that providers will offer quality, relevant CE.”
Joint Accreditation was launched in 2009, according to its website, to “establish the standards for education providers to deliver interprofessional continuing education planned by the health care team for the health care team.” The benefit to the public consumer of integrated health care, such as a hospital patient, is improved health care delivery and better patient outcomes, according to Joint Accreditation. “Healthcare teams receive education designed to be independent, free from commercial bias, based on valid content, and effective in improving the quality and safety of care delivered by the team.”
“Social workers are an important part of the interprofessional team, and ASWB is delighted to be able to offer CE to them by joining Joint Accreditation,” says ASWB CEO Mary Jo Monahan. “The health care team is strengthened when all members receive integrated high-quality and relevant training, and the benefits to patients and public protection are thereby multiplied.” ASWB’s affiliation with Joint Accreditation serves to increase social workers’ access to high-quality, relevant continuing education and to simplify approval processes for providers offering interprofessional CE to multiple professions.
For more information, visit jointaccreditation.org.
Coming soon: Individual course approval
Beginning April 1, 2019, ACE will offer individual course and conference approval in addition to provider approval. Fees for this new program will remain the same as the current fees for the New Jersey CE Course Approval Program. The application for requesting approval for single courses or conferences through this program will be available on the ACE page of our website beginning April 1, 2019.
As we shared in our last newsletter, the New Jersey CE Course Approval Program will merge with the new individual course approval process. Current courses approved for New Jersey that have not reached the end of their current approval period will be transitioned to ACE.
ACE Handbook feedback requested
As a reminder, ASWB published a new provider handbook in October 2018. The ACE Handbook is available via the ACE Handbook web page. Feedback from ACE and New Jersey course providers has been overwhelmingly positive. Now that all resources are in one place and program requirements are connected to ACE standards, providers are finding it much easier to locate information they need.
We would love to hear what you think about the new handbook from more of you! Please contact Lisa Casler Haun, manager of continuing competence and continuing education services, to let her know your thoughts on the handbook. We are eager to be sure we are meeting your needs.