We believe very strongly that interprofessional teams provide the best care, especially for older people with serious multiple chronic conditions. In direct care as a geriatric social worker, I worked very closely with physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, physical therapists, as well as home health aides and family caregivers. It never occurred to me that my colleagues in other disciplines might not know what a social worker contributes to the team.
But recently, I had a conversation with a very knowledgeable physician who asked: “What is the difference between a nurse and a social worker?” I was also dismayed that the InterProfessional Education Consortium (IPEC) did not initially include the discipline of social work, but after Hartford’s strong advocacy it now does. And because of the Hartford Foundation’s sponsorship, social work is now included in the Institute of Medicine Global Forum on Interprofessional Education.
So, in honor of the closing of Social Work Month this March, I would like to bring attention to the important role of my fellow social workers.