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SOCW 6204 WEEK 5. Medical social work in an interdisciplinary team

Assignment: Medical Social Work in an Interdisciplinary Health Care Team

“A team is a group with a specific task or
tasks, the accomplishment of which requires the interdependent and
collaborative efforts of its members” (Wise, Beckhard, Rubin, &
Kyte, 1974, p. 73). Grumbach and Bodenheimer (2004, p. 1249) identified
five key elements of team building and explained that a cohesive,
organized team must have “clear goals with measurable outcomes, clinical
and administrative systems, division of labor, training, and
communication.” Teamwork brings together diverse knowledge and skills
and can result in professional collaboration and cost-effective quality

Despite evidence that teams may
enhance patient care, working on an interdisciplinary health care team
can be challenging. For example, a member may be threatened by the
notion of giving up some of his or her professional autonomy to the
group effort, or there may be a lack of confidence and trust in the
opinions and decisions of individuals from other disciplines. It
requires skill and flexibility to coordinate and collaborate with
multiple professionals who possess different backgrounds and areas of
expertise toward a common goal: improving the delivery of services to

To prepare for this Assignment,
select a discipline of medical social work of interest to you. Then,
read the assigned case study and think about how a team would care for
or provide service to the identified client.

Case study:

is a 60-year-old Caucasian female. She has been married to her husband
for 35 years and has two grown children. She has been admitted to the
hospital for a double mastectomy due to her recent breast cancer
diagnosis. Claire and her family remain unclear about her prognosis.

By Day 7

In a 4- to 6-page paper:

  • Summarize the patient population (age, gender, ethnicity or race, medical condition or diagnosis) that the case study features.
  • Describe the discipline of medical social work that you chose.
  • Explain the primary roles and responsibilities of a social worker in the discipline that you chose.
  • Devise an interdisciplinary team in the discipline you chose for the patient in the assigned case study.
  • Define the roles of other members of the interdisciplinary health care team in that discipline.
  • Explain how you might collaborate with the members of the health care team.
  • Explain the essential values that are common to the members of an interdisciplinary team to patient care.
  • Describe the challenges you might encounter while working with an
    interdisciplinary health care team. Then, explain strategies you would
    employ to address the challenges.
  • Explain how the challenges you identified might negatively affect
    the patient and the patient’s family in the assigned case study.
    Finally, explain how you might work with the patient, the patient’s
    family, and other stakeholders in providing optimal health care. Cite
    your response using external scholarly resources.
  • Provide examples of resources the social worker might use for patients in this area.

Required Readings

Dando, H. H., & Finlon, C. J. (2003). Social work in an interdisciplinary HIV/AIDS program. In B. I. Willinger & A. Rice (Eds.), A history of AIDS social work in hospitals: A daring response to an epidemic (pp. 229–238). New York, NY: Haworth Press.

Beder, J., & Postiglione, P. (2013). Social work in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) System: Rewards, challenges, roles and interventions. Social Work in Health Care, 52(5), 421–433.

Berkman, B. J. (2011). Seizing interdisciplinary opportunities in the changing landscape of health and aging: A social work perspective. Gerontologist, 51(4), 433–440. Retrieved from
Seizing interdisciplinary opportunities in the changing landscape of health and aging: a social work perspective by Berkman, B. J. in The Gerontologist, 51/4. Copyright 2011 by the Gerontological Society. Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Maramaldi, P., Sobran, A., Scheck, L., Cusato, N., Lee, I., White, E., & Cadet, T. J. (2014). Interdisciplinary medical social work: A working taxonomy. Social Work in Health Care, 53(6), 532-551. doi:10.1080/00981389.2014.905817

Mitchell, P., Wynia, M., Golden, R., McNellis, B., Okun, S., Webb, C. E., … Von Kohorn, I. (2012). Core principles & values of effective team-based health care [Discussion paper]. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine.
Mitchell, P., Wynia, M., Golden, R. (2012, October). Core principles & values of effective team-based health care. Retrieved from the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences website:…

Minetti, A. (2011). Working together. An interdisciplinary approach to dying patients in a palliative care unit. Journal of Medical Ethics, 37(12), 715-718.

Partnership for Health in Aging. (2011). Position statement on interdisciplinary team training in geriatrics. An essential component of quality healthcare for older adults. Retrieved from

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