Social Work In Health Services

Degree Program: Social Administration/ Social Work pathway (6th semester – compulsory)

Teaching hours: 3 per week-ECTS 5

Course tutor: Vassilis Karagkounis, Lecturer

Curriculum vitae:



Course description:

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with social work practice in health care settings. Building on core knowledge common to all fields of practice, the course examines practice skills, strategies and core competencies needed to help individuals, families, groups and communities in varied health care settings and on different levels of the health care continuum. Social work practice is explored in the context of the psychosocial consequences of illness and current health care delivery systems. Consideration is given to the effects of class, race, age, gender and culture on social work practice with various populations in contemporary health care. Particular focus is given to chronic, life-threatening diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and end-stage renal disease, as well as issues pertaining to loss and grief.


  • Models of health -The social construction of health and illness
  • Historical background and development of social work in the health field -theoretical perspectives
  • Social work practice standards in healthcare
  • Social work roles, methods and practice approaches in varied healthcare settings and on different levels (hospital, primary health care, health promotion, health education, etc.)
  • Social work practice with people suffering from chronic, life-threatening diseases and their carers.
  • Social work practice in palliative and end of life care.

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will:

  • Gain an understanding of health care disparity and social, economic, and cultural factors that impact access, quality, and outcome of health care services
  • Gain an understanding of theories, methods and practice approaches that inform social work practice in healthcare
  • Have learnt basic assessment skills of the client system(s) that incorporate the biological, psychosocial, and environmental determinants of health in social work practice
  • Demonstrate awareness of ethical dilemmas and legal issues that are likely to occur in social work practice in health care settings. Apply and identify social work ethical practice principles, values and advocacy strategies used when working with end of life, loss and grief, access, health disparity issues and problems that social workers confront across the health care continuum.
  • Demonstrate self awareness in considering personal values, experiences, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, social, economic background as they relate to the social work relationship in work with various populations in health care practice



  • Written examination
  • Class attendance (although not obligatory) along with active participation of student will also be appreciated.


  • Thronicroft, Gr. & Tansella, M. (trans. M. Dermentzi, ed. S.. Stilianidis) 2010. For a better mental health care, Athens: Topos. (in Greek)

• Dziegielewski, SF, 2013. The changing face of health care social work. Opportunities and challenges for professional practice. NY: Springer.

• Horevitz, E., Lawson, J. and Chow, J. 2013. Examining Cultural Competence in Health Care: Implications for Social Workers. Health Social Work 38 (3): 135-145 doi: 10.1093 / hsw / hlt015.

• Keeping, C. Practitioner Research, in S. Fraser & S. Matthews (eds) 2008. The critical practitioner in Social Work and Health Care, London: Sage.

• Kostantinidis, M., 2010. A study of experiences and perceptions of seropositive individuals (HIV) using focused group interview in Th. Kallinikaki (ed.) Qualitative methods in social work research, 429-451, Athens: Topos. (in Greek)

• Madianos, M.1999. The tree below the apple. Individual and family in Community psychotherapy of psychosis, Athens: Ellhnika Grammata. (in Greek)

• World Health Organization and Psychiatry Univ / University of Athens (eds. GN Christodoulou et al.) 1998. Mental disorders in primary care. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment, Athens: Beta.

• Rock, BD 2002. Social Work for Health Care in 21st century. In A. Roberts and G Greene (eds) Social Workers’ Desk Reference, 10-15, Oxford University Press.

• Tsiantis, C. (Ed.) 2001. Introduction to Child Psychiatry, Athens: Kastaniotis.

• White, S., Fook, J., Gardner, F. 2006. Critical Reflection in Heath and Social Care. Oxford University Press.

Further reading:

• Vergeti, A. 2009. Social Work with families in crisis. Athens: Topos. (in Greek)

  • Karpetis, G. 2010. Psychodynamic clinical social work practice with parents in child and adolescent mental health services: a case study on the role of the father, Journal of Social Work Practice, 24:2,155-170.
  • Roberts, A. (ed.) 2000. Crisis Intervention Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Healy, K. 2001. Reinventing Critical Social Work: Challenges from Practice, Context and Postmodernism. Critical Social Work, Archive Volumes, V. 2, No.1.
  • Papadatou, D. & Anagnostopoulos, Ph. 1995. The psychology in health. Athens: Ellhnika Grammata. (in Greek)
  • Christopoulos, A. 2008. Introduction to adult psychopathology. Athens: Topos. (in Greek)