Hospice Certification for Social Workers

Social workers interested in hospice or palliative care can earn relevant certification.

Social workers interested in hospice or palliative care can earn relevant certification.

In 2000, the National Association of Social Workers, in conjunction with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, started credentialing social workers who work in hospice and palliative care settings. You can earn basic and advanced care certification. Both require you to meet education and experience requirements to be eligible for the certifications.

What They Do

As a social worker in a hospice and palliative care setting, you work with a patient, her family and her care team. You identify and put in place social services that your patient, as she reaches the end of her life, and her family may need. You also supplement your patient’s medical care plan with one that more fully addresses a patient and her family’s potential psychological issues, such as fear of dying or grief. You also advocate on behalf of your patient if you believe someone is abusing her.

Certification

The NASW developed its credentialing program to help licensed, practicing social workers gain the experience and training necessary to succeed in a hospice and palliative care setting. Having certification, according to the NASW, demonstrates your experience and knowledge. It also means that you have the skills necessary to address the special needs your patient and her family may have. You must renew your certification every two years.

Eligibility Requirements

To earn basic certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited university and three years of supervised relevant experience. To earn advanced certification, you must have a master’s degree in social work from an accredited university and two years of supervised relevant experience. To be eligible for either certification, you must also have at least 20 continuing education credits in topics related specifically to hospice and palliative care and be licensed to practice as a professional social worker. You must also follow the NASW Code of Ethics and Standards for End-of-Life Care.

Other Considerations

The NASW offers basic certification to social workers who work in a state that does not license social workers. You must have at least four years of relevant experience and have at least 40 continuing education credits. You can't earn advanced certification without being licensed.

 

About the Author

William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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