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History of Social Work

Published on Oct 22, 2018

Social Work History

Social Workers play an important and crucial role in ensuring skilled nursing and rehabilitation patients are receiving quality care with dignity and respect. They serve as an advocate for the family and is the bridge between them and the clinical and rehabilitation teams.

The social work profession is more than 100 years old and is built on being the voice for others. It began in the late 19th century to assist immigrants coming to the United States. They helped vulnerable people gain tools and skills to escape economic and social poverty in their new country.

The first class in social work was offered in 1898 at Columbia University. Many societal benefits we know today emerged as social workers advocated for change. Jane Addams, a social work pioneer, was the first woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She helped immigrants in Chicago with settlement housing.

These homes were set up in poor urban areas in which volunteer middle-class workers would live and share their knowledge and culture with immigrants.

Frances Perkins was the first woman appointed to the Cabinet of a United States president. She was named the Secretary of Labor by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The National Association of Social Workers formed in 1955 from the merger of seven social work organizations. The organization works to enhance the profession and development of its members, create and maintain standards and advance social policies.

Go to for more information on becoming a social worker, ethics, and upcoming events.

Social Workers in Skilled Nursing Centers

In the nursing home and long-term care industry, social workers often help patients adjust and cope with issues and problems they may experience in transitioning to the health care setting. They might help with financial issues, medical care, emotional and social needs.

“Social workers in our centers are one of the bridges between the family and the skilled nursing center,” said Carla Peters, Clinical Liaison for AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers. “Social workers, along with the clinical teams, are the voice for the patients and their families.”

Did you Know?

Actor Samuel L. Jackson worked as a social worker in Los Angeles for a brief period before becoming one of the highest grossing actors in history with his various films, including Pulp Fiction, the Star Wars prequels and his role as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Author: Brandon S. Totten, MAJ, is the Community Relations Manager for AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers.