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Monday, October 2, 2017

Building Certification for Hospice and Palliative Care Social Workers - Take the Survey!

by Megan Mooney

(Take the Hospice and Palliative SW Job Analysis survey before October 5th if you are a social worker. If you are not a social worker, encourage social workers in hospice and palliative care that you know to take it!)

What is Evidence Based Practice?
The Institute of Medicine (2001) defines evidence-based medicine as “the integration of best researched evidence and clinical expertise with patient values” (p. 147). According to Social Work Policy Institute (2010) evidence-based practice (EBP) is defined as the combination of research interventions, clinical experience, values, and client preference that aids practitioners in treating individuals. In social work, the consensus is that EBP is a way of practicing, assessing, intervening, and evaluating based on empirical support, which helps practitioners become more effective (Mullen et al., 2008). This approach assures that the treatments and services offered to clients will have the most effective and beneficial results mirroring what the research shows.

Why is it Important for Social Workers to Participate in Research?
To ensure the effectiveness of the social work profession, standards of social work education have been applied and implemented into accredited programs. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), states “Social workers use practice to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery” (CSWE, 2008, p. 5).

Additionally, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics 4.01 Competence, states “social workers should base practice on recognized knowledge, including empirically based knowledge, relevant to social work and social work ethics” (NASW 2013, para. 39). As you can see, the Social Work field has started to increase its emphasis on EBP, by putting these standards of education and practice into place.

Has someone ever asked you how do you know that intervention that you’re doing is effective and the best one available? As competent Social Workers, we must be able to provide that answer and the answer is always “through evidence based research or practice”. As Social Workers, we make a commitment to better ourselves, the communities we serve, and to help improve the knowledge base of our field. We need to help contribute to the developing of evidence based practice. Research is vital to social work because it helps us to be effective and to provide the best services possible to our communities!

How Do We Participate in Research?
Social Workers have many opportunities to be involved in research. The NASW outlines this in their Evaluation and Research section. If you’re near an institution (University or Hospital), see if they need any help with the research they’re conducting. We can participate in online surveys (quantitative data) that helps contribute to the knowledge base of our field. We can also agree to be interviewed for qualitative data that will help researchers identify the needs of our work. This all helps to provide the best interventions needed in our areas of expertise!

We Have a Great Opportunity for Hospice and Palliative Care Social Workers to Help Right Now!
A great opportunity that social workers in the hospice and palliative care field have right now is to participate in the Hospice and Palliative Social Worker Job Analysis Survey! We do hope that you will help with this and invite your other HPM friends too. This is a wonderful opportunity to help improve our field! We only have until October 5th to complete this survey! It only takes about 30 minutes and you get entered into a drawing to win a chance to go to one of the SWHPM conferences. Here is the link:

If you are a practicing hospice and/or palliative social worker, you are invited to complete the Hospice and Palliative Social Worker Job Analysis Survey, the first step in creating the certification program. Please invite other social workers you know to do so too!The survey will be open September 5 - October 5.

Megan Mooney, MSW is a researcher with the University of Missouri and leads the Pallimed Facebook efforts. She also started Death Cafe in St. Joseph, MO.

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