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How difficult is it to get a job, particularly as a medical social worker?


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Okay so the general question is this: How hard is it to get a job as a MSW? I'm not interested in going into private practice and having my own private therapy sessions. I just want a long, fulfilling career that doesn't involve me having to manage my own company/business.

In particular, how hard is it to get a job as a medical social worker as a hospital or hospice or medical clinic? I have a friend who is currently getting her MSW with a concentration on health services and she interned as a hospital as a medical social worker, though she told me the hospital won't be hiring her full time upon graduation.

I decided to look up "medical social worker" on job websites, and it appears that almost all of the positions are per diem. Per diem was a bit ambiguous to me, and I couldn't find too much information about it. I've read some forum posts elsewhere that per diem can mean either no work for 6 months, or work for 1 weekend per month, or 3 hours a month. This is pretty frightening if you ask me. Of course, they're just forum posts from other sites so the credibility is questionable. So that's why I'm posting here to see what you all have to say about it

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You hit on a good point. I asked this question too when I did an informational interview before applying. Getting a good job with your MSW is becoming more difficult everyday it sounds like. There are more people going into this field making it more competitive and a lot of jobs are dependent on funding that can be cut. I was told though that it is a field with a lot of movement because many people burn out and quit. The lady I spoke with said they have the hardest time hiring people in their mental health clinic that can handle the stress despite their excellent resumes from MSW programs and many quit before they have even been at the job very long.

That's another thing to really think about. This is a direction that can really wear you down and I don't think everyone that gets a MSW really realizes this and is prepared for it. The pay is not high for the amount of work. The MSW programs are expensive. Clients can be very difficult and you will be responsibile for making decisions about their care that are life changing for better or worse. You have to document everything because you could get called into court and you also want to protect yourself and your agency. Also think about what happens to your personal life if you bring a lot of stress home or have to be on call at your position. You could get a call in the middle of the night and have to handle the situation. Someone I know took a medical related position and had on call hours for several years. She always seemed to get called at Thanksgiving and Christmas to handle major crises. I don't think she spent much time with family during the holidays for years.

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That's great that you feel positive about the job possibilities in the field. I hope that is what I encounter. You seem more positive about job prospects than those that I have spoken to in the field. It could be that I am in a highly competitive geographic area. I was told by several people that there are some incredible positions in areas that are less densly populated and a great need for social workers in rural areas. If you have the ability to be more flexible about where the position you take is, I bet it is much easier.

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