RNS as social workers. What?

  1. i was wondering if anyone has heard of rn's using their lisensure to obtain social work positions? recently, i was perusing the local classifieds, and saw a job ad for a mental health and substance abuse clinic that was looking for a "qualified candidate with a bachelors in social work--or an rn". what the hey! is this a common practice? i am a nursing student only as far as med-surg, and while i have enjoyed most of my clinical experiences, something like this would be right up my alley. i worry sometimes, because i love nursing school but just can't picture myself working in a hospital. i realize i don't have to worry about this for a while, but feedback would be appreciated!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Truly_Blessed
    Yes, I have seen things like this several times in my local newspaper. I also worked for an answering service who would answer calls for a facility that dealt with troubled teens. The woman who was always on call was an RN. I asked her if she had another degree besides her BSN and she said no. I never got anymore detail from her, but I thought it was interesting.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    Not at all unusual to see an RN filling a case manager type of role in my neck of the woods.
  5. by   finness
    Quote from nurse ratched
    not at all unusual to see an rn filling a case manager type of role in my neck of the woods.
    do you mind me asking what your neck of the woods is?
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I work in a level one trauma center in central Illinois, I'm an RN and I do case management. We used to have a social worker coupled with an RN to do this job, but it makes more sense (and I agree) that an RN can do the social work part as well as the RN part and have more continuity for the patient.
  7. by   hllybenn
    I had an MSW (Master's of Social Work) first, then got my RN, BSN and I think there are many parts of the job that RNs can do especially in the hospital setting. I have met people from outside hospitals and rehabs that are either MSW, LSW (licesned MSW in my state) or RNs doing the same position.

    I probably see myself in the near future using something that can use both set of skills.

    Many aspects are interchangable to me.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Interesting take on the situation Holly - thanks for your feedback.
  9. by   James Huffman
    You should be aware that social workers tend to be among the lowest paid in the professional fields, and a nurse working as an SW would be paid as a SW, not as a nurse. SW salaries tend to run from $24,000 to a top of around $40,000.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  10. by   Jolie
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I work in a level one trauma center in central Illinois, I'm an RN and I do case management. We used to have a social worker coupled with an RN to do this job, but it makes more sense (and I agree) that an RN can do the social work part as well as the RN part and have more continuity for the patient.

    What do you do as an ER case manager? I understand the role in other areas of the hospital where contact with a patient is on-going, but I don't understand what a case manager can accomplish in the short time that a patient is in the ER, unless that patient is a frequent flier. Thanks for your info!
  11. by   mercyteapot
    Have you considered being a medical social worker? To do that, you'd actually have to get your degree in Social Work, though. All of them that I know are MSWs. However, I have a social work position with a project through a large state university. We work with parents of children with disabilities to access resources and community training programs. It is a really interesting job, but I make about half of what I would make as an RN.
  12. by   finness
    Thanks for all of your replies! MercyTeapot, I was thinking something more along the lines of the mental health or substance abuse arena. It seems like there are a lot of interesting things one can do with an RN. I figured the pay would be less, but that is not my PRIMARY reason for chosing nursing in the first place. Next question: has anyone heard of of someone with an ADN obtaining this position?
  13. by   finness
    Thanks for the help. I figured it would be less pay. Do you imagine that I would need a BSN?

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