Social Worker

Careers in Mental Health

Kristy Dees, MSW-CSWA
Social Worker

Generic Information

  • Conducts patient evaluations
  • Conducts interviews with patients, family members, friends, and other contacts in the community
  • Communicates psychosocial functioning, nature and extent of disability, the potential for rehabilitation, and assessment of barriers to discharge as requested by courts or the interdisciplinary team
  • Identifies patient resources upon discharge; initiates and secures available resources
  • Collaborates with physicians, clinicians, nurses, therapists, and allied health professionals as a part of a patient-centered interdisciplinary team
  • Master’s degree in Social Work is preferred but a Bachelor’s Degree in Social work is sufficient for a Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker
  • Licensed Master’s Social Workers (LMSW) License from the Oregon State Licensing Board
  • Certified Social Work Associate (CSWA) License from the Oregon State Licensing Board
  • Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW) License from the Oregon State Licensing Board
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) License from the Oregon State Licensing Board
  • Empathetic active listening skills
  • Clinical knowledge, skills and abilities in working with persons with mental illness
  • Ability to function independently and as a part of a patient-centered interdisciplinary treatment team
  • Highly attentive to detail, confidentiality, and accuracy
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Home healthcare
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Physician’s Office
  • Medical hospitals
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Schools (k12 – universities)
  • Government and community agencies
  • Civil and criminal courts
  • Vocational rehabilitation services
  • Corrections facilities
  • Rehabilitation facilities


As vital members of the interdisciplinary team, the main focus for social workers is helping patients re-enter the community after discharge. Discharge planning begins with the first meeting of a patient’s interdisciplinary care team. Social workers arrange for the resources necessary for progress after hospitalization; this includes housing, access to therapeutic medication and continued treatment, and the necessary social supports. Social workers play a key role in mitigating future difficulties related to a patient’s condition by providing individual, family, and group counseling. They also provide other interventions to psychiatric hospital patients while assuming primary responsibility for discharge planning.

For more information on the educational pathway to this and other healthcare careers follow this Link to the Educational Resource page.

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