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The role of a Social worker and Human services both play a significant part in the health industry. Each role has specified and designated areas, though while there are a few similarities there are also differences. Both professions significantly promote social good, contributing in assessing individuals needs especially those in vulnerable situations. This paper will discuss the challenges and opportunities that both profession of Human services workers and Social workers encounter in the Health sector, emphasising on each role of the profession specifically in terms of its development, the workers well-being and its impact on their performance, workers education, implications for the profession.
Role of Human services and Social workers
The role of Human services, according to the ‘National Organisation of Human Services’ is a profession that uses interdisciplinary knowledge base, which aims to prevent and remediate problems, with the objective of assessing an individual’s needs. (Ricks, Carlisle, & Snow, n.d.) Human services workers serve people and organisations aiming to reach their client’s requirements. The profession requires knowledge and skills to be able to perform and succeed tasks involved. This includes; identification in a variety of factors in human development, human behaviour, the factors involved in shaping human behaviour such as culture, society, general background etc., identification of types of intervention that would help generate the highest optimal solution as well as being able to implement and analyse these interventions, along with processing skill, the competency to communicate, plan and implement services. This profession assists individuals, families, group member, communities etc, through the implementation of interventions and services ensuring that this enhances the client’s performance and contribution to society and helping them to gain the competency to remediate problems. Certain positions Human services workers in the health area include Case worker, child welfare worker, Drug and alcohol Counsellor, Child life Specialist etc. (Human Services guide, n.d.)
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The role of Social workers is very similar with the role of Human services workers in terms the people they assist ensuring to improve their patient’s live. Social workers provides advocacy, education and support. One of a social workers significant role involves assisting patients that have been inflicted by social problems such as natural disasters, global and national challenges, privatisation of healthcare, stress etc. Another role of a social worker is to enhance interaction between patients and family in health care to attain one’s health and well-being (Parast & Allaii, June 2014). The overall task of a Social workers is utilising social views to get a deeper understanding of human complications in hope to attain improvement in individual’s lives. Areas that Social workers may specialise on include Medical and Public health workers, Child, Family, and School Social workers, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social workers, addiction and mental health social workers etc. (Cherry, 2017) Compared to Human services workers, the most significant difference would be the tasks involved. Certain tasks that differ include; administrative roles, working directly with clients in carrying social programs, connecting patients with services, assessing needs and counselling. Social work provide flexibility for social workers as it provides the option to either work with certain populations or to do administrative work. (Acosta, 2013)
Challenges and Opportunities
There are many challenges that come along when working as a Social or Human Services worker, these could be challenges that relate to workers themselves or challenges that occur in the overall field of health. Some of the challenges that relate to the worker themselves is their own well-being such as being stressed or overworked inevitably affecting their work motivation and job satisfaction hindering the provision of quality service. This could occur in places that are short- staffed resulting in workers with numerous tasks designated consequently leading to overworked staff. Research that has been carried out to test whether there is a relationship between motivation & job satisfaction and the quality of service delivered shows that there is indeed a relation, indicating that effective human resource management (HRM) practises that enhance motivation and job satisfaction influences the quality of service given health workers. Advanced HRM practises contributes to the quality of health care as it strengthens associations within the workers and its local community as well as refining each workers competency, team work, motivation etc. When no or poor practises are applied, low quality of service is expected. There are many factors that contribute to the motivation and job satisfaction of a health worker few of this include; salary, career structure, number of opportunities, work environment, medical technologies and equipment available, workload etc. (Bonenberger , Aikins, Akweongo, & Wyss, 2014). There are several challenges in terms of the profession itself. Social workers deal with human inconsistencies, although most of these problems are due to governmental regulations and other resource personnel. In terms of Governmental regulations, the government sets certain laws that regards with privacy of information which makes it difficult for agencies and health workers to communicate with each other as they are unable to access certain information (Baer, n.d.). Making decisions on behalf of those that seek services known as brokering is also one of the challenges that the workers face, this is the practise of deciding which professional service a patient needs to attain the results they acquire. A health worker must have knowledge and capabilities to assign a patient to the right profession. (Contributor, 2017)
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Enhancement of quality service, can be attained by in depth training of workers focusing on improving staff competence, morale that up bring the fullest capabilities of health workers. Strengthening the education of Human services and Social workers may also contribute in enhanced quality of service, it may also broaden the opportunities available for the workers. Education is significant factor when becoming a Human services and Social worker. Human services and Social workers must learn to facilitate and enhance collaborative care, adopt values/ethics, have in-depth knowledge of interprofessional responsibilities. Throughout centuries, education and standards for this profession has developed. In New Zealand alone, Community health services experienced major development in the 1970s where significant structural and bureaucratic changes took place that lead to increased number of human services and social workers employed. By the 1980s education played a big role in the health field, raising expectations on workers’ competencies and standards. By the 20th Century emphasis on client-centred improvements and social justice foundations were acted upon. In the 2000s statutory regulations were introduced, for instance the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act which is a legislation created for the protection of the health and safety of the public as assurance that Social and Human services workers have the right competencies to certain practises. In 2010 and beyond, occurred challenges and opened opportunities for health workers in New Zealand. Opportunities continued to expand roles such as gaining supervisory and managerial qualifications, social workers have made their way in entering several positions like managerial roles, acute care, home care, community sector, palliative care etc. Certain areas that hinder the development of social work in health care are the following that are often overlooked; health inequalities, social work in primary health, social work and health promotion, promotion of the undergraduate curriculum. (Beddoe & Deeney, 2012). These certain areas should be well-observed to maintain the development of this profession in the field of health. Certain implications arise from the ongoing development of this profession which may include technological advances like medical equipment or even computer techniques to assist admin tasks, deeper knowledge of evidence-based practise to improve performance and quality served to patients, health delivery systems with prominence of integrated transdisciplinary care, evolving consumerism and readdressed health care legislations and regulations to ensure that the laws are just and protects all rights. (Spitzer & Davidson, 2013) These factors impact the development and future of the health field for Social and Human Services workers and should be maintained to attain efficient results that positively influences Human services and Social working enabling them to work effectively, along with reduced satisfaction and increased productivity.
In this essay, the challenges and opportunities for Social and Human Services workers in the field of health has been discussed along with role, development, the workers well-being, workers education and implications for the profession. An overview of both roles gave emphasis on the significant differences though both professions are very similar in terms of who the people they work with and certain tasks. Certain challenges are brought upon the profession i.e. overworked, job dissatisfaction, in which is inevitably part of being a health worker although can be minimised by HRM practises as it may fulfil a sense of belonging for the workers thus enhance work quality. Opportunities for these workers continue to expand for these workers. Human services and Social Worker assist those who are in vulnerable situations improving individual’s well-being and their contribution to society therefore the development and implications for the health workers must be maintained to enhance the effectiveness of the service quality provided and the overall Human Services and social work in the field of Health.
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