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Skilled Nursing Facility

INTRODUCTION
Amanda Furman attended the Rutgers School of Social Work as an undergraduate, graduating in 2007. She then obtained her Master's in Social Work from Rutgers School of Social Work in 2008. Amanda gained experience through internships in hospice, discharge planning and longterm care, and a county area office on aging. Following graduation, Amanda worked for Genesis Healthcare in the Camden area. She is currently the Director of Discharge Planning and Social Services at Liberty House, a Genesis Healthcare facility in Philadelphia. 

WHAT DOES SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN A SKILLED NURSING FACILITY ENTAIL?
Social work in a skilled nursing facility means working in a fast-paced, quickly changing environment. Social workers have a variety of responsibilities. In a sub-acute rehabilitation setting, social workers are responsible for care and discharge planning. They meet with families, set up home care, order medical equipment, coordinate with doctors, and work closely with an interdisciplinary team to coordinate discharges. It is a busy work environment that requires a social worker to enjoy working in a fast-paced healthcare setting. The long-term care aspect of the facility entails monitoring mood and behavior, taking social histories, and overseeing quarterly and annual care conferences. Social workers work with families and handle complaints or concerns. They also discuss end-of-life care planning, such as advanced directives. The most difficult part of the job, according to Amanda, is coordinating the entire team to work with a family. She states that there are times when a case may be particularly difficult and require the entire team to work closely together and with the family to ensure that the client has a successful skilled nursing experience.  

WHAT SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS DOES SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN A SKILLED NURSING FACILITY ENTAIL?
Social workers must enjoy the fast-paced healthcare environment. Amanda stresses that every social worker must find an area of work they enjoy, because even within the field of aging there are vast differences between areas of work. As Amanda states, discharge planning in a subacute setting is very different from end-of-life care, and it's important to truly want to do this type of work. Social workers must be able to handle the quick changing environment, be flexible, and be able to "roll with the punches." The best part of working in a skilled nursing facility, in Amanda's opinion, is "interacting with the residents and having the day-to-day conversations with them."

WHEN AND HOW SHOULD ONE GO ABOUT FINDING A JOB AT A SKILLED NURSING FACILITY?
In New Jersey, to work in a skilled nursing facility social workers must have at least their CSW license. In Pennsylvania, however, there is no licensure requirement. Amanda suggests looking for jobs through the usual outlets, such as Monster, Career Builder, and newspapers. She also highly recommends using the resources Rutgers provides, because alumni with job openings often submit the opportunities for the school to post. Potential applicants can also look on the websites of various agencies for openings. 

WHAT DO HIRING MANAGERS LOOK FOR IN APPLICANTS?
Amanda stresses the importance of an applicant's eagerness and willingness to learn, and how important it is to display these qualities on an interview: "I don't want to say sell yourself, but show a genuine interest and desire to work and do this. I'm very excited about my field so I look for that same kind of excitement."  On a resume, Amanda looks for a master's degree in social work and related experience. She likes to hire new graduates, since she is a recent graduate herself and feels that she is able to give back by helping other social workers get their start in the field: "I've had great opportunities and had great people who helped me along, and I like to do that for others."

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