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10 Reasons to Get Your APHSW-C!

If you keep up with SWPHN news, you know we're excited about the launch of the first evidence-based certification for social workers in hospice and palliative care! The first exam for the Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker Certification (APHSW-C) will be held January 15-February 2019, and a second testing window will take place in July 2019.

You can find more information on the APHSW-C page. Here are ten reasons to consider getting certified:

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Your Annual Review: Take The Wheel

Get reimbursement for your professional memberships, certifications, and professional development.

For many of us, it is annual review time: a time to reflect on our work with managers and supervisors, and an opportunity to remind them of the value, skills and expertise we bring to our work, our teams, and our patients.

It is also a time to request things for yourself! Although budgets are tight, it's important to advocate for yourself and your profession. Many of us do receive money for CME activities, such an professional conferences like SWHPN's.

Here are five things to do when asking your manager or supervisor for professional support:

1. List all of your clinical activities and educational efforts (including the clinical work you do with health care providers “on the fly”); and any research, QI or program development you do individually or as part of a group/team. Demonstrate how valuable you are!

2. Remind your superiors of the evidence based value of social work. Social workers not only impact the quality of patient/family care, but often the “bottom line” of the hospital, by reducing lengths of stays when we are involved in the case. We also solve problems with distressed patients and families facing complex personal and medical situations that are overwhelming their capacities, providing important communications support for the hospital and interdisciplinary team.

3. Demonstrate the importance of advanced certification. The upcoming certification of APHSW is the first and only test-based certification for social workers in the medical field, and will, hopefully, lead to billing options in the future. It is critical that we all have advanced certification in the field of Palliative Care and Hospice. Your institution can support you in this effort by paying for your SWHPN membership and APHSW registration fee. The cost for SWHPN membership of $125 annually. The cost of the upcoming certification is $275 for members/$450 for non-members – a savings of $50 for members for a total request of $400 - giving you an advanced certification and the benefits of SWHPN membership. No matter what you're requesting, always ask for the specific amount.

4. Ask for support to attend professional conferences, usually limited to one. Of course, we would love for you to attend SWHPN 2019, to be held in Orlando (as will AAHPM and HPNA), and our 2019 costs (to be announced soon!) are still far less than AAHPM and HPNA. Between registration, travel and accommodations, $1,500 is a reasonable request to start with.

At our first event in 2012, less than 50% of SWHPN conference attendees received support from their institutions/hospices to attend; this year, that number has jumped to almost 80%! More and more participants are receiving support from their employers.

In many/most medical institutions and hospices it is standard to provide continuing education and membership fee money to MD’s and NP’s. It should be the same for social work. We are a valued member of the team and do important clinical, educational, and program work.















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Announcing the APHSW-C Certification Program

The Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network is proud to announce the Advanced Palliative Hospice Social Worker Certification (APHSW-C) Program, the first evidence-based specialty certification program for hospice and palliative social workers.

Led by Dr. Barbara Head, and an advisory committee of educators, administrators, and practitioners, the APHSW-C Certification Program is the culmination of two years of work developing the first-ever testing and certification process specifically for hospice and palliative social workers. Unlike other certification programs, the APHSW-C designation requires verification of knowledge and competency based on passing an exam specifically and scientifically constructed to reflect the essential knowledge and skills required for specialty practice. Now established, social workers practicing in this specialty can apply for certification. The first administration of the test is scheduled for January 2019.

This program now provides a process by which a social worker's qualifications (knowledge, skills, abilities and experience) are verified for practice in hospice and palliative care. The certification may be preferred or required employment criteria or may be an expectation of accrediting bodies. Employers may expect new hires to work toward this specialty certification knowing that it validates their ability to practice in the field.

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