Creating roles for social work in changing health care organizations: organizational development perspective
Social work has historically been influenced by and influential in periods of social change. The current health care environment poses challenges to the profession whose function is to maximize adaptation. In addition to helping patients and families adapt to a rapidly changing health delivery system, social workers can develop roles that affect the direction and impact of organizational change, substantively if not fundamentally. This includes assisting staff to work professionally and maintain client-focus during organizational stress and chaos. This article develops one example of how social work expanded its role during a time of transition through staff education of another discipline at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, USA. The authors conceptualize the need for such practice, describe and analyze the program, and extrapolate practice principles for expanding social work roles in a changing work organization.