Considerations in Preparing Social Work Students to Thrive in Health Care Settings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Over a quarter of the members of the social work profession are working in health related settings yet preparing students to work in such multi-disciplinary environments, with hierarchical organizations and problem-focused systems, can create value conflicts, principally with the strengths-based paradigm inherent in social work practice. In order to prepare social work students for delivering services that honor the profession’s ethics, values, and principles in medical environments, a focused academic curriculum and field experience are warranted. This conceptual paper aims to inform social work educators about the unique considerations for preparing students to practice in health care settings. We address how the underlying influence of the biomedical model, organizational culture, and billing and reimbursement services within the medical context can challenge social work values and practice. However, we illustrate how the Integrated Behavioral Health model can be applied to help students utilize clients’ inherent strengths and problem-solving capabilities while they navigate the terrain of multi-disciplinary medical environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-133
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Teaching in Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis.


  • Health care settings
  • organizational culture
  • social work values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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