ACA Blog

Robbin Miller
Sep 01, 2010

Inequities In Job Opportunities For Counselors-Part I

I am experiencing extreme frustration in looking for jobs in the healthcare industry. In my neck of the woods, these jobs are only being advertised to social workers due to their training in the medical arena in graduate school and in their internships. Fortunately, I obtained professional work experiences since 1996 working in this industry as a Care Manager; Independent Living Specialist; and Community Organizer for elders and for persons with disabilities in different job avenues.

Two weeks ago, I was denied an interview for a nursing home because the requirement to administer a MDS (Minimum Data Set) to assess the level of functioning for care for elders and for persons with disabilities can be used by both a nurse and a social worker. While the former is true, I found out by looking at the MDS instrument
http://www.cms.gov/NursingHomeQualityInits/downloads/MDS20MDSAllForms.pdf that anyone qualified to use this administer does not have to be a social worker. The nurse has to sign off on it after the evaluator finishes administering the instrument. Furthermore, in my last job as a care manger, the director of the program who was not a social worker or nurse administered this instrument for her clients while the nurse just signed off on it after she was done evaluating the client’s functioning needs.

It is apparent that there may be either a misunderstanding or just blatant discrimination against counselors on who can really administer this instrument in a nursing home setting. I have called and emailed the executive director of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association to inquire why this standard that only a social worker and not a counselor can administer the MDS in a nursing home setting. As of writing this blog, he has not called me back. I was directed to contact this individual through the Massachusetts Home Care Association who responded to my inquiry about this issue.

I am also experiencing frustration in finding a job as an educator/counselor in a home care or healthcare setting for clients and families with specific health conditions. The qualifications call for a social worker only to apply for the job. I applied to this job and stated that I am just as qualified as a social worker to do this job based upon my work experiences and taking graduate courses in Rehabilitation Counseling. So far, no one has contacted me as of yet.

I also applied for a per diem position at a local visiting nurse association as a social worker. Again, I used the same line as mentioned above, and I have not heard from them yet. Stay tune as I will update you next week on my latest adventures in finding a job.



Robbin Miller is a counselor who specializes in mindfulness meditation; Positive Psychology; and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies; and is also a volunteer cable access producer and co-host of her show, "Miller Chat" in Massachusetts.

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