The Social Work Perspective: A Systematic Review of Best Practices for Social Workers in Healthcare Teams
Date of Paper/Work
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Type of Paper/Work
Clinical research paper
Social workers are involved in a variety of multidisciplinary teams in different settings, but the role social workers play in a multidisciplinary healthcare teams lacks clarity and consistency in research. The literature solidifies the notion that social workers utilize a broad perspective and are heavily relied upon to be a voice of reason in multidisciplinary teams (Patterson, 2004). In addition, the literature isolates role ambiguity and mistrust as the most common factors weakening teams in the work place. (Patterson & Pennefather, 2015); however, there is minimal qualitative research on how a social worker self-identifies as part of a multidisciplinary team in a medical setting. To begin this investigation, a systematic review was conducted to explore the role of a social worker in a multidisciplinary team including the barriers, challenges, and successes experienced. The findings uncovered themes of self-identity, role clarity, cultural competence, the importance of effective communication with patients and their families, power differentials among team members, and the difficulty social workers can have articulating their role to members of the team. This data points to the need for future research to further support the successful functioning of multidisciplinary teams. Teamwork is not only a key element in cost containment, effective care coordination, and accountable care organizations, but also a central component of quality social work practice and delivery.
Teamwork, health care OR healthcare, social work perspective
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Kirschbaum, Sarah, "The Social Work Perspective: A Systematic Review of Best Practices for Social Workers in Healthcare Teams" (2017). Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Papers. 855.