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Social Work Study Abroad Blog: Parres Public Hospital

This blog is written by Social Work study abroad student LaTiona Washington.  We welcome comments on this blog on Facebook, just follow this direct link to the post.  

The definition of a social worker in a hospital in Morelos is one word – “wow.”  Unlike in the US, the job of a social worker is extensive in a hospital setting. It begins with your initial intake, with one of the three social workers. They ask you for your name, age, status, religion (in the United State’s, social workers are not allowed to ask about your religion), and insurance. They also ask about your income, family, and home condition, which are verified with pictures. Social workers here in Morelos train doctors on educational talks, birth and death certificates, and on how to deal with deaths. Social workers also make home visits with a driver and no one else. The social worker takes photos of the house, analyzes the family, and makes a map of the home. It was interesting to find out they made maps of the houses because we recently had to make a map of our internship, which showed the areas of communication and interactions within the internship. Also, hospital social workers have to report to the police whenever children and elderly get admitted. This is a requirement, especially if the child has been back frequently. The police then contact the DIF (Mexican Institution of Social Assistance for the Welfare of the Family). Always after a child or elderly person is released, they do a follow-up at their home.

Reflecting on the work of a social worker leaves me speechless, thinking of how valuable a social worker is here at Parres. I wonder if, in the US, we could incorporate the question about religion and how different it would make the health practice. Would there be a change? Also, how would doctors feel about being trained by social workers? The job of a social worker in the hospital is huge, and I didn’t even cover it all. Without the social workers, there would be a gap in the hospital care and function, making social workers very valuable.