Social Work Specialist I - Department of Psychiatry

Patient Care Providers
21002447 Requisition #

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics—recognized as one of the best hospitals in the United States—is Iowa's only comprehensive academic medical center and a regional referral center. Each day more than 12,000 employees, students, and volunteers work together to provide safe, quality health care and excellent service for our patients. Simply stated, our mission is: Changing Medicine. Changing Lives.®


The university is located along the picturesque Iowa River in Iowa City, a city of some 77,000 people (170,000+ in the metro area) regularly ranked as one of the nation’s best places to live. Iowa City is less than four hours from Chicago and within five hours of Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City, readily accessible via interstate highways and a regional airport 30 minutes away.


We are looking for a motivated, energetic person with a passion for working with people in recovery from substance use disorders to join our dynamic, multi-disciplinary team of professionals.  The Chemical Dependency Services program at the University of Iowa provides a spectrum of care to people at all stages of recovery from substance use disorders, including those with co-occurring mental health conditions.  Our services include a partial hospital/dual diagnosis program, intensive outpatient program, extended outpatient program, and relapse prevention.  We also operate a chemical dependency consultation service for hospitalized inpatients at UIHC, programs for impaired professionals, OWI mandatory treatment, and outpatient care.  


Chemical Dependency Services at UIHC is now under the Department of Psychiatry, in the new Addiction Medicine division.  We are growing our addiction services and recently added a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Clinic for the treatment of opioid use disorder.  The ideal candidate will work with our current treatment programs—providing assessments, individual and group therapy, treatment planning in an educational academic setting--and also take part in helping shape the future of our programs as they grow.  We offer a collaborative and collegial work environment with dedicated professionals who strive to provide excellent care to people who are recovering from addiction.  If you have the skills and passion to make a difference in the lives of others, please apply.


Position Summary: Provides leadership and advanced social work practice skills in areas of individual, group and family psychotherapy, program development, teaching and training, research and public education.   Collaborates with a variety of health care professionals to affect treatment options and assist in the coordination of social work activities related to the treatment of patients with substance use and/or mental health disorders.  Contributes to the social work profession, building on social work education and experience to enhance department initiatives and patient experience.


Position Responsibilities 
Demonstrates initiative in problem solving and program development and/or identifies, conducts and documents research and special projects.
Originates new ideas and initiates problem solving and program development. 
Develops services that improve patient care and benefit the clinical service, the department, and/or the hospital.
Serves as an agent of planned change.
Consciously uses self and professional skills to achieve goals.
Demonstrates knowledge of practice areas.
Demonstrates conceptual and technical knowledge.
Demonstrates ability to apply theoretical knowledge.
Completes further education related to job/assignment.
Continues to build relationships with patients and families in order to develop and implement plan of care, using clinical impressions to address treatment adherence and access to care concerns.
Contributes to social work practice.
Serves as a practicum instructor for social work students or acts as a job shadow guide for short term placements.
Serves as a mentor for new staff, teaching core and advanced competencies and/or evaluating new staff.
Provides education on social work skills, including diagnostic and treatment, and provides information on specialized areas of practice.
Evaluates own professional practice and improves care based on results.
Seeks opportunities to enhance own professional knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to current position and/or to prepare for potential future roles and overall career development.
Understands and applies recovery principles to all aspects of care
Includes identification of unique needs, strengths and assets in patient assessments.
Includes individualized treatment plans:  goals that reflect patient/family participation, strategies to support/build patient strengths, assets and goals, strategies that will help patient and all staff minimize the use of coercive interventions.
Involves family/support system in care to the extent possible by: encouraging visitation, allowing participation in assessment, treatment planning, education and discharge planning, communicating an understanding of the impact of mental illness on families, therapeutic approaches to explore and possibly reduce patient reluctance to involve family/support system.
Characterizes interactions with others in all work settings by: respectful, person-centered language, recovery-enhancing relationships with patients, conversations that communicate an understanding of the impact of stigma, discrimination and social isolation, and attempts to reduce it.


Classification Title: Social Work Specialist I
Pay Grade:
Percent of Time: 100%, full time


Required Qualifications
Master’s degree in Social Work
A license to practice social work in Iowa.  LISW required
3-5 years of specialized social work experience in the field of behavioral health 
Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
Demonstrated experience collaborating as part of multi-disciplinary care teams, including ability to effect change and resolve recalcitrant problems


Desirable Qualifications
Demonstrated leadership skills including critical thinking, independent decision-making, time management, and program development activities 
Ability to coordinate complex planning efforts involving multiple disciplines, departments and community resources
Experience working with adult and adolescent patients and their families, providing counseling and crisis intervention  
Experience working with patients who have substance use and/or mental health disorders
Solid understanding of community resources available for a variety of medical and psychiatric conditions including knowledge and experience with levels of care, federal and state regulations and financial resources 
Eligibility for professional certification (CADC, IADC, IAADC) provided through the Iowa Board of Certification is highly desirable (for those working with Chemical Dependency).


Application Process
In order to be considered, applicants must upload a Cover Letter and Resume (under submission relevant materials) that clearly address how they meet the listed required and desired qualifications of this position. 

Job openings are posted for a minimum of 14 calendar days.  This job may be removed from posting and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended.

Successful candidates will be subject to a criminal background check. Professional references will be required at a later time in the recruitment process. 

Equal opportunity/affirmative action employer

The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance or accommodations with the application or interview process may contact University Human Resources/Faculty and Staff Disability Services, (319) 335-2660 or  For jobs in UI Health care, please contact UI Health care Leave & Disability Administration at 319-356-7543.

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