Ask a Social Worker is a monthly column featuring questions from the community and answers from members of NHF’s Social Work Working Group. If you have questions for our social workers, send them to [email protected].
I recently graduated from social work school and am interested in working at a hemophilia treatment center (HTC). How do I get a job in an HTC? Do I need special credentials?
I love to hear that you are interested in becoming a social worker in a hemophilia treatment center! I have been an HTC social worker for about five years now, and not only do I learn something new every day, but I also find joy in something new every day. I would be happy to share more information about the role.
According to a study conducted by the Henry Ford Health System in partnership with the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF), 95.7% of HTC social workers have a master’s in social work (MSW). This means they attended graduate school in social work after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social work or another field. You need a master’s degree in social work to become a clinical social worker, meaning you work as a psychotherapist or counselor.
Social workers have been active members of the multidisciplinary team at HTCs for many years; however, their roles may differ greatly from center to center. Social workers advocate for patients, provide a variety of psychosocial and case management services, are a primary source of information and referral, and may provide counseling and therapy to patients and families, as well as consultation to staff.
To get a job as an HTC social worker, you do not need special credentials beyond your social work credentials. While many HTC social workers may have additional expertise, training or licensure (for example, I am also a licensed alcohol and drug counselor), it is not required for the role.
Many HTC social workers enter the profession with little experience as a medical social worker and little familiarity with working with the bleeding disorders population, though others may choose to go into this profession based on personal experience or a particular interest in working with people with bleeding disorders.
The comprehensive and integrated care teams at HTCs are a great source of support, education and mentorship for new members of the team. HTC social workers are also fortunate to have a variety of resources and training opportunities available to them that are very helpful when integrating into the role. If you’re interested in learning more about the training opportunities available to HTC social workers, visit NHF’s website.
According to the NHF, there are about 140 federally funded HTCs and programs across the country. If you are interested in finding an HTC near you to learn more about job opportunities that might be available, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HTC Directory.
—Betsy Boegeman, MSW, LICSW, LADC
Boegeman is a clinical social worker at the Children’s Minnesota Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders in Minneapolis and a member of the Social Work Working Group.