Social Worker (Acute Psychiatric Unit)

Veterans Health Administration - Department of Veterans Affairs

Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. Basic Requirements Citizenship. Citizen of the United States. Licensure. Full, unrestricted license or certification by a state to independently practice social work at the master’s degree level. Education. Master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates of schools of social work that are in candidacy do not meet this requirement until the school of social work is fully accredited. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for master’s degree in social work. Preferred Experience: Acute psychiatric experience preferred Grade Determinations: GS-09 Experience: None beyond the basic requirements listed above. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs: Ability to work with Veterans and family members from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds utilizing counseling skills. 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. 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. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies. 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. Assignments. 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. Social workers at the GS-9 entry level are typically assigned to program areas that do not require specialized knowledge or experience. Duties may include but are not limited to: identifying behaviors or symptoms of abuse, neglect or exploitation; providing education on advance directives and advanced care planning; providing social work case management; acting as an advocate with appropriate VA and community service providers/agencies when it serves the best interest of the Veteran and family members/caregiver; assessing the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and their family members identifying the Veteran’s strengths, weaknesses, coping skills and psychosocial acuity, in collaboration with the Veteran, family, and interdisciplinary treatment teams; maintaining a current network of internal and external resources to educate the Veteran and/or family members/caregivers and assist with the appropriate referrals. Since social workers at this level are not practicing at an independent level, they should not be assigned to program areas where independent practice is required, such as in a CBOC, unless there is a licensed social worker in the program area who can provide supervision for practice. GS-9 social workers provide psychosocial services in the assigned area under supervision. GS-11 Experience/Education: Applicants must 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. OR Education. 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 to the experience above, candidates must demonstrate all of the following KSAs: Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services. 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. 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. 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. 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. Assignments. This is the full performance level. Social workers at this level are licensed or certified to independently practice social work. Incumbents are assigned to all program areas, including but not limited to: inpatient or outpatient medicine, surgery, mental health, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, and geriatrics. Employees provide professional, independent social work services in the assigned area. Duties include but are not limited to: assessing and documenting identified behaviors or symptoms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and/or intimate partner violence; use of clinical social work skills and knowledge to maintain Veteran privacy and confidentiality per policies, handbooks or directives; and acts as an advocate with appropriate VA and community service providers and agencies when it serves the best interest of the Veteran and family members/caregiver. Incumbent independently assesses the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and their family members, identifying the Veteran’s strengths, weaknesses, coping skills, and 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-09 to GS-11. References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G39 – Social Worker Qualification Standard. Physical Requirements: The work requires the Social Worker to be mobile throughout the medical center as needed, involving standing, walking, bending, pushing, and lifting (moderately heavy). The Social Worker should be capable of prolonged standing/walking and be physically capable of pushing computer equipment, wheelchairs.
The Acute Psychiatric Unit Social Worker serves on an interdisciplinary treatment team in Acute Mental Health providing services in the inpatient setting with some outpatient and aftercare as well. Services include biopsychosocial assessment with diagnosis, treatment planning, individual, group and family therapy, case management, advocacy, discharge planning, and coordination of linkages to other VA or
community service providers and agencies as needed by the Veteran.