Over 75 Social Workers met on Apr 28th for a discussion of Health+Hospital's proposed changes to our formal job description. Health+Hospitals' Council of Social Work Directors met over the past few years and developed a proposal to change the formal job description and qualifications (commonly referred to as "Job Specifications". You can click here for current Job Specifications, and click here for the proposed new Job Specifications (a draft, and not formally in effect).
Our core concerns were:
- Barriers to promotions in 'non-clinical' areas: Some Social Work assignments may not qualify as 'clinical' under the definition used by NYS, and Level 2 LMSWs may never qualify for promotions.
- Diversity concerns on supervisory staff: Raising the qualifications will reduce the pool of eligible applicants for supervisory positions, and may reduce the racial diversity of supervisors (we don't have specific data about LCSW vs LMSWs, but educational attainment generally is skewed).
- Role of Level 2 Social Workers: Now that Level 2 is effectively the 'entry level' position, we feel that they should not be expected to "Train and instruct less experienced social work staff", as this is essentially a supervisory task.
At that meeting, over 2/3 felt these were 'quite' or 'very concerned', and agreed to raise our concerns to H+H leadership, including a petition to Eva Sanders, the new Senior Director of Social Work Services at Central Office.
Below is the text of our petition, endorsed by our Social Work Chapter on June 29th - please support our efforts to ensure fair job specifications!
Dear Ms. Sanders & Dr. Katz,
We, the undersigned Social Workers of NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation, would like to offer the following suggestions in response to the recommended changes to the Social Work job function and qualification requirements.
We understand that those Social Workers who currently hold Level III, IV, and V positions will be exempted from the LCSW requirement if they do not currently hold one, but the proposed changes will affect promotional opportunities for nearly all of us.
Our proposal includes the following suggestions:
- In the interest of hiring and retention, we are requesting a financial incentive be offered for individuals once they receive their LCSW.
A right to qualifying clinical assignments and supervision:
- Should any worker want to pursue their LCSW, they should be afforded a clinical assignment that meets the educational and experiential requirements of the NYS Office of Profession Education, and be provided with qualifying clinical supervision of that work.
- If that clinical assignment is not available at their location, then they should be afforded the opportunity to internally transfer to a position that does meet the NYS requirements.
The LCSW should exclusively be listed as a qualifying requirement for level IV and level V social workers, but not required for all Level IIIs
- It should depend on the specific position, as some Level IIIs do not supervise other Social Workers.
The core elements of the NYC H+H Social Work Clinical Scope of Practice policy, the NYS Education Law and the NASW Standards of Practice focus on developing policy that is patient-centered and accountable to federal rules and standards. While we understand the goal of increasing the availability of supervision by LCSWs, we feel that the responsibilities of some Level IIIs do not require the LCSW, and will create an unnecessary barrier to promotional opportunities for many Level II workers, and negatively impact patient care through increased attrition of experienced workers.
We appreciate the importance of fair and equitable opportunity as an essential pillar at NYC H+H, and we request these values be applied when considering these suggestions.