Perceived challenges of medical social workers in a public health facility in Ilorin
Keywords:medical social work, health facility, discrimination, challenges
Medical social workers are important players in the overall management of diseases and illnesses in hospital settings. They help facilitate the treatment process and contribute to the overall well-being of the patients. However, there is a growing inter-professional misconception of roles between social workers and other medical personnel in hospitals coupled with societal lack of knowledge of the role of social workers in medical facilities. In this study, the perceived challenges of medical social workers in a tertiary health facility in Ilorin were investigated using a phenomenological research design. Fifteen participants who were medical social workers were purposively selected. Data gathered was analysed using thematic and content analyses. The study found prejudice, discrimination, and structural conflicts as the major challenges of medical social workers in the facility studied. Other perceived challenges were non-recognition of the roles of medical social workers by other health practitioners, which often dovetails into a lack of cooperation. The study recommends structural adjustment and policy framework that would institutionalize the roles of medical social workers in health facilities not only in the study area but the whole country. This will not only boost the morale of medical social workers but also improve the good working relationship among other medical personnel.