Social Work Practice in the Health Field

Subject SCWK90031 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours (4 x 6 hours seminars)
Total Time Commitment:

24 contact hours

16 hours of class preparation and reading

24 hours of assessment related tasks

= 64 hours total time commitment

= 8 hours total time per week


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s courses. Students who think their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Social Work
Melbourne School of Health Sciences
The University of Melbourne
Level 5, 234 Queensberry St
Carlton Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
T: +61 3 8344 9400
F: +61 3 9347 4375

Subject Overview:

In order to orient students to core contextual issues for social work practice in health care this subject will begin with an historical overview of key developments both locally and internationally. The current structures of Australian health care systems will be identified and discussed in relation to emerging international industry trends (eg Managed Care). The subject will provide students with an understanding of some key dimensions of organizational and management theory and how these can inform professional practice within a multi-disciplinary host organization. The core concept of ‘health’ will be deconstructed and examined within sociological philosophical and legal frameworks. This will then lead to an investigation of key underlying values and ethical dilemmas for social work practice in health care. The subject will conclude with an examination of the core practice roles and functions for social work in health care settings (e.g. discharge planning, case-management, advocacy, managing constant change, unclear professional boundaries, stress management, accountability and outcomes measurement)


Students who complete this subject should:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the structures and linkages within the health care field;
  • Develop a critical appraisal of the key issues, recent developments, and future directions within health care;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of common practice challenges, and appropriate practice standards in health care services;
  • Demonstrate self-awareness regarding the values, knowledge and skills utilized within the field.
  1. A written essay of 5,000 words due at end of semester
Prescribed Texts: A reading pack will be available
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

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