Become a Certified Oncology Social Worker

THE BENEFITS

  1. Demonstrates to clients and colleagues that oncology social workers have a defined and specialized skill set.
  2. Certification is a public acknowledgment of going beyond what is expected.
  3. Certification opens the door for conversations with patients, staff and administrators about the knowledge, experience and commitment needed to attain this designation.
  4. Hospitals can use this to demonstrate to surveyors and accrediting bodies that the social workers on staff have attained an exceptional level of experience and competency.
  5. Some hospitals have provided social workers with financial rewards and incentives for becoming certified.
  6. Signifies your commitment in the eyes of your leadership.
  7. Represents an advanced level of competence, commitment, and experience in the field of Oncology Social Work.
  8. Validates your specialty – similar to OCN for nurses.
  9. Is the preferred certification for the required role of “Psychosocial Coordinator” for the Cancer Committee, which is specified in the Commission on Cancer Standards of Care.
  10. Is a great marketing tool for your employer.
  11. Comes with a certificate that you can display and a letter of recognition to be given to your employer.
  12. Demonstrates to accrediting organizations such as Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and your community that Oncology Social Workers comply with standards and ethics that ensure delivery of quality services to all.

Click here if your OSW-C has lapsed and you would like more info on reapplying.

In the 2016 Patient Centered Standards, the Commission on Cancer recognizes and prefers the OSW-C credential. Also, the Association of Community Cancer Centers recognizes and prefers the OSW-C credential in their Cancer Program Guidelines.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jennifer Bires, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C, Chair

Executive Director – Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Washington, DC

“I have worked in oncology since I graduated with my MSW.  I remember first learning about the certification and having to patiently wait until I had worked long enough to qualify.  I think this certification is so important because it elevates our professionalism and highlights the expertise of oncology social workers.”

Doreen Gagnon, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Secretary

Oncology Social Worker – Middlesex Health Cancer Center, Middletown, CT

“Since I first became the (solo) social worker at Middlesex Health Cancer Center in February, 2010, I have tried to be an active member of the oncology social work community in order to provide our patients with the best possible psychosocial care. As part of this commitment, I sought and obtained certification through BOSWC to both reflect and further this commitment. Last year, I was honored to become a board member of BOSWC, allowing me to contribute to the work of this terrific organization.”

Kathy Higginbotham, MSW, LICSW, OSW-C, Treasurer

Oncology Clinical Social Worker – Lifespan Cancer Institute, Providence, RI

Kathy Higginbotham LICSW, OSW-C, is an outpatient Oncology Clinical Social Worker at the Lifespan Cancer Institute in Providence, RI. In addition to her clinical work, she has served on several boards, facilitated a support/educational group for the Brown University Oncology Fellowship program and currently facilitates support/educational  groups within the Cancer Center. The Clinical Staff within the Cancer Center is expected to achieve certification within our respective professions as part of our best practice.

Eileen Matteo, MSSA, LISW-S, OSW-C

Senior Social Worker – Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland, OH 

“Obtaining my OSW-C was a credential that I personally and professionally thought was important for the practice I developed over the years. It was to show my commitment to the oncology population. When first starting out in outpatient oncology, I was employed in a small cancer center, a lone ranger with one medical oncologist in a very poor part of Cleveland, OH. By maintaining this credential, I wanted to show our patients that they had a team of professionals committed to their wellbeing throughout their cancer journey and beyond.”

Su Murdock, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Clinical Director, Ann’s Place, Cancer Support, Danbury, CT 

“I feel it is an honor and a privilege to walk alongside people who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Obtaining and maintaining my certification in oncology is a way for me to demonstrate my commitment to my clients and to the field of oncology social work.”

Brad Zimmerman, MBA, MSW, APSW, OSW-C

Oncology Social Worker – Advocate Aurora Cancer Care, Milwaukee, WI

“Professionally, oncology social work is all I have ever known. As a valued member of the oncology team, I take great pride in the work we social workers do and I am honored to actively participate in the journeys of people with cancer. To me, an oncology social work certification was very important as it exemplifies the unique services and contributions we social workers in oncology offer our medical teams. It is symbolic of all the wonderful work we perform for the oncology community. An oncology social work certification affirms my efforts to continually strive toward bettering the well-being of people with cancer and those affected by it.” 

Leora  Lowenthal, MSW, MPA, LICSW, OSW-C

Program Leader for Hematology/Oncology Social Work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

“In addition to my clinical work, I have served on several boards, including three years as Education Director for the Association of Oncology Social Work and serving as a member of the Medical Advisory Council for the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation.”

Jennifer Finn, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Psychosocial Coordinator, Billings Clinic Cancer Center, Billings, MT

“Initially, my employer encouraged my application for OSW-C certification.  Over the years, I have chosen to maintain my certification as it exemplifies my level of expertise, dedication, and experience as an Oncology Social Worker.  In a time when the title “social worker” is not protected in all states, I think that it is critical for social workers to demonstrate high standards of competency and integrity.  I believe that much like our professional licenses, an OSW-C denotes that we hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability and professionalism.”

Linda Glaudell, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Oncology Social Worker, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s, Milwaukee, WI

“It was upon applying for my current position as a lone ranger in oncology that I learned of the OSW certification.  It was a requirement of my position that I needed to earn as quickly as possible.  As I began meeting the requirements, I saw myself grow as an oncology social worker.  Each step led me to more exciting opportunities and the ability to demonstrate to myself, my family, my employer, and my profession how committed I was to strive for excellence.  Joining AOSW enabled me to become the oncology professional I am today.  By joining the BOSWC, I hope to empower others to take that first step.”

CONTACT US
BOSWC
PO Box 187
Saugatuck, MI 49453
269.857.5077

OUR MISSION

The Board of Oncology Social Work Certification mission is to promote and ensure excellence in psychosocial care to oncology patients, families, caregivers and their communities. This certification is earned by social workers who have demonstrated a high level of excellence in oncology specific social work practice, ongoing oncology specific education and training, ongoing professional oncology social work employment and ongoing professional and community engagement.