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Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Social Worker in Des Moines, Iowa


The VA Central Iowa Health Care System is recruiting for one (1) full-time Social Worker for the Acute Care/Surgery or Intensive Care Units.


This Social Worker is assigned to VA Central Iowa Acute Care/Surgery or Intensive Care Units at VA Central Iowa Healthcare System. The incumbent will assist veterans in accessing services to meet their healthcare and psychosocial needs. This professional Social Worker works independently to provide a variety of services for veterans assigned to a hospitalist , including psychosocial assessments, treatment planning, short-term, solution focused counseling with individuals and families who may be in crisis, education and referral for resources and benefits, and case management. Responsibilities will also include consultation and education to Medical Center staff and service providers, the collection and maintenance of statistical data, and the supervision of students as assigned. As a member of the Interdisciplinary Treatment Teams in the Acute Care/ Surgery/ or Intensive Care Unit the individual conducts work activity independently using his/her educational training, clinical experience, VA policies, and Joint Commission standards in administering direct services: psychosocial assessment of patient/family needs in relation to the provision of interdisciplinary treatment planning and service delivery; individual, group, and family counseling and casework services for the purpose of addressing identified needs. The Social Worker will collaborate with the other members of the VA Central Iowa medical and mental health providers in the provision of comprehensive health care services to Veterans, will ensure equity of access, service, and benefits to this population, and collect, develop and analyze data from this program, using appropriate clinical indicators and monitoring activities to assure that the care provided is of the highest quality. This worker is responsible for the implementation of written treatment program policies and procedures developed by the Social Work Executive and other Primary Care Service Line management that are based on coherent empirical and theoretical rationale and are consistent with patient rights and the maintenance of comprehensive written patient progress notes and outcomes. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Conduct psychosocial assessments to determine needs of veterans and family members. Serve as an active participant in the treatment planning process with other disciplines. Participate in discharge planning with other disciplines to ensure that discharge plans are executed in a manner that is timely and appropriate. Provide individual and family therapy as appropriate. Provide consultation/education to veterans and families on community resources, advance directives and VA benefits. Act as a consultant to other team/staff members. Provide consultation/education to medical residents on social work practice and VA policy and procedure. Act as liaison between VA and community resources, to include marketing and public relation duties as needed. Provide case management to veterans and families, as needed, throughout the continuum of care. Provide a full range of social work services within commonly accepted standards of social work practice which includes case work, individual and family therapy, discharge planning, case management and other services as appropriate. Address Advance Directives and provide education on Advance Directives to veterans, families, other staff and medical residents. Provide wellness/prevention education to veterans and provide referral to other education and support groups internal and external to the VA. The incumbent will, as appropriate, supervise the practice of social work students, or a less experienced social worker. Coordinate treatment and communicate with the service lines to facilitate continuity of care for veterans. Participate in committee assignments independently, or as deemed necessary, by the service manager. Maintain data and statistical compilations to comply with Joint Commission, VA, and medical center policy and procedures. Assist patients and their significant others with coping and dealing with the loss and grief experiences in disability, terminal illness and death. Document social work interventions and activities in patient's clinical record utilizing CPRS and ensure appropriate hand off when transferring of patient care. Participate in a rotation of on-call social workers to accommodate patient care needs on weekends and holidays. Work Schedule: Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4: p.m.

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


Conditions of Employment


Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education. Have a master's degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates of schools of social work that are in candidacy status do not meet this requirement until the School of Social Work is fully accredited. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master's degree in social work. Licensure. Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-0185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master's degree level. Exception. VHA may waive the licensure or certification requirement for persons who are otherwise qualified, pending completion of state prerequisites for licensure/certification examinations. This exception only applies at the GS-9 grade level. For the GS-11 grade level and above, the candidate must be licensed or certified. English Language Proficiency: Social workers must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j, this part. May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria). Grade Determinations: GS-9 Experience, Education, and Licensure. None beyond the basic requirements. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:

(a) Ability to work with Veterans and family members from various socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds utilizing counseling skills.

(b) Ability to assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and their family members, and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the Veterans problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills, and assistance needed.

(c) Ability to implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups to achieve treatment goals. This requires judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving, or crisis intervention techniques.

(d) Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and communicate with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies.

(e) Fundamental knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities, and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic, and traumatic illnesses/injuries; common medications and their effects/side effects; and medical terminology. GS-11 Experience and Licensure. Appointment to the GS-11 grade level requires completion of a minimum of one year of post-MSW experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the field of health care or other social work-related settings, (VA or non-VA experience) and licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level.


Education. In addition to meeting basic requirements, a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work may be substituted for the required one year of professional social work experience in a clinical setting. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, candidates must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:

(a) Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services.

(b) Skill in independently conducting psychosocial assessments and treatment interventions to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds.

(c) Knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities and treatment procedures (i.e. acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses/injuries, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology) to formulate a treatment plan.

(d) Skill in independently implementing different treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical, and social problems to achieve treatment goals.

(e) Ability to provide consultation services to new social workers, social work graduate students, and other staff about the psychosocial needs of patients and the impact of psychosocial problems on health care and compliance with treatment. All qualifying experience and KSAs you possess must be clearly described in your application package. We will not make assumptions when reviewing applications. Failure to demonstrate your experience/how you gained each KSA in your resume may result in disqualification. It is strongly recommended that you write to each KSA in your application package. Please see the Required Documents section below for resume requirements. References: VA Handbook 5005/120 Part II, Appendix G39 The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-09 to GS-11. Physical Requirements: Light lifting under 15 pounds, Light carrying under 15 pounds, Use of fingers, Ability for rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously, Hearing (aid permitted)


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application. Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

Additional Information

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment. This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status. VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority. Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members. If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.