Social Worker

Veterans Health Administration - Department of Veterans Affairs

Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. English Language Proficiency Have a master’s degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master’s degree level. Current state requirements may be found by going to http://vaww.va.gov/OHRM/T38Hybrid/ May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria). Licensure Requirement Exceptions:
VHA may waive the licensure or certification requirement for persons who are otherwise qualified, pending completion of state prerequisites for licensure/certification examinations. This exception only applies at the GS-9 grade level. For appointments at the GS-9 grade level, VHA social workers who are not licensed or certified at the time of appointment must become licensed or certified at the independent, master’s level within three years of their appointment as a social worker. Note: Most states require two years of post-MSW experience as a prerequisite to taking the licensure/certification exam, and VHA gives social workers one additional year to pass the licensure/certification exam. In states such as California, Washington, and others where the prerequisites for licensure exceed two years, social workers must become licensed at the independent, master’s level within one year of meeting the full state prerequisites for licensure. A social worker who does not yet have a license that allows independent practice must be supervised by a licensed independent practitioner of the same discipline who is a VA staff member and who has access to the electronic health record. Social Workers may be grandfathered by the state in which they are licensed to practice at the advanced practice level (except for licenses issued in California, which administers its own clinical examination for advanced practice) and they must be able to provide supervision for licensure. All persons employed in VHA in this occupation on the effective date of this qualification standard (September 10, 2019) are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including positive education and licensure or certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. Grade Determinations:
GS-9 Entry level: Individuals assigned as GS-9 grade level social workers are considered to be at the entry level and are closely supervised, as they are not yet functioning at the independent practice level conferred by independent licensure or certification. To qualify at the GS-9, applicants must only meet the basic requirements in addition, must demonstrate all of the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs): GS-9 Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs):
(a) Ability to work with Veterans and family members from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds utilizing counseling skills.
(b) Ability to assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and their family members, and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the Veterans problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills, and assistance needed.
(c) Ability to implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups to achieve treatment goals. This requires judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving, or crisis intervention techniques.
(d) Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies.
(e) Fundamental knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities, and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic, and traumatic illnesses/injuries; common medications and their effects/side effects; and medical terminology. GS-11 level: This is the full performance level. Social workers at this level are licensed or certified to independently practice social work. Appointment to the GS-11 grade level requires completion of a minimum of one year of post-MSW experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the field of health care or other social work-related settings, (VA or non-VA experience) and licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level. In addition, candidates must demonstrate all of the below Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs):
OR
In addition to meeting basic requirements, a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work may be substituted for the required one year of professional social work experience in a clinical setting. In addition candidates must hold a licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level and demonstrate all of the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs): GS-11 Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs):
(a) Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services.
(b) Skill in independently conducting psychosocial assessments and treatment interventions to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds.
(c) Knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities and treatment procedures (i.e. acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses/injuries, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology) to formulate a treatment plan.
(d) Skill in independently implementing different treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical, and social problems to achieve treatment goals.
(e) Ability to provide consultation services to new social workers, social work graduate students, and other staff about the psychosocial needs of patients and the impact of psychosocial problems on health care and compliance with treatment. References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G39. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-9 to GS-11. Preferred Experience: Experience working in a hospital setting is highly preferred. Physical Requirements: Traveling throughout the medical center and the community is required, as is performing activities involving sitting, walking, and standing, bending and carrying such items as books, papers, and files. In carrying out responsibilities it may be necessary for the incumbent to travel into the community where he/she conducts interviews with the Veterans, their families, representatives of community health and welfare agencies and law enforcement agencies. Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to drive a government vehicle.
The position is in the inpatient mental health unit. Is a member of a team whose goal is to provide a wide range of health services to patients, as well as their families. Work with the patient and multidisciplinary treatment team (including the psychiatry attending, psychiatry resident, nursing staff, pharmacist, patients family and significant others, conservators, payees, etc.) to plan and provide treatment during the patients inpatient stay and outpatient care upon discharge.