Veterinary Social Worker


As a member of Lakeshore’s administrative team, the Veterinary Social Worker’s (VSW) primary responsibility is to provide emotional support to clients of the hospital and consultation regarding clients with hospital staff. The VSW will also provide supportive services, short term interventions and psychoeducational programs for employees of the hospital. The VSW serves as a field instructor for the social work internship program for the hospital. The VSW primarily operates out of Lakeshore’s Oak Creek location, but can travel to other locations as needed.  


Proposed Work Schedule:

Monday- Friday (business hours)

*Schedule is subject to change due to the needs of the hospital*



While under the direct supervision of the Social Work Program Manager, the VSW must be able to effectively and accurately perform the following duties that include but are not limited to:


Client Care

  • Provide short term crisis support and counseling to clients as per need or by referral from hospital staff.

  • Facilitate decision making with clients:

    • Assess comprehension of diagnosis and prognosis of pet

    • Provide assistance with quality of life understanding

    • Present information re: anticipatory grief, palliative care, euthanasia and body care options

  • Accompany clients to visit pets in ICU; assist in getting updates from medical team.

  • Offer support/resources during or after euthanasia; attend as needed by client.

  • Provide grief and pet loss counseling to clients:

    • In Person: during or after euthanasia, code in hospital or DOA

    • Phone/Email: follow-up check in’s requested by staff or client

    • Cremains Pick Up: meet with client for check in as able

    • Group: provide grief information, validation & support

  • Give community resources and/or make referrals as requested.

  • Assess and intervene with clients who express suicidal thoughts, who lack in lucidity, who appear impaired and also with couples in disagreement, families with children, and elderly clients. Facilitate treatment of pet by mediating with doctors in these cases and connect these clients with outside resources as per need.

  • Facilitate pet loss support group; implement other groups if/when need identified.

  • Help plan and participate in annual pet remembrance event.

  • Maintain consistent documentation of client intervention via ImproMed; uphold confidentiality.  


Staff Care

  • Intervene and offer short term support with staff: in crisis, needing to process/debrief client encounters, in conflict with co-workers, experiencing compassion fatigue or other situations which may impair ability to work effectively. Provide referral for outside counseling or EAP as needed.

  • Provide consultation to doctors and staff with regard to VSW assessment of clients for facilitation of treatment and best method of communication with clients. Free doctors’ time when clients are demanding excessive consultation due to emotional needs.

  • Offer psychoeducational programs for staff about:

    • SW program services and how to utilize

    • Communication skills

    • Wellness and self-care

    • Stress management and compassion fatigue

    • Tools and info for suicide prevention


Staff Care (continued)

  • Provide informal debriefing individually or in groups as needed.

  • Maintain consistent documentation of staff intervention via Smartsheet; uphold confidentiality.  


Other duties as assigned.




  • Leadership ability, organization, reliability and independence.

  • Must have confident, authentic, flexible and grounded personality with respect for introversion.

  • Must be emotionally mature with good sense of humor.

  • Must be able to prioritize, multi-task and endure a fast pace.

  • Ability to mentor social work interns, delegate tasks and teach SW skills to students.

  • Tolerance for graphic medical procedures and information.

  • Experience with attachment to pets and understanding of human-animal bond. Experience with euthanasia procedure ideal.

  • Outstanding self-care skills and desire to promote these to peers.

  • Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Maintain a harmonious and cooperative relationship with co-workers.

  • With access to proprietary and other confidential information, must be highly trustworthy and able to handle confidential records.

  • While performing the duties of this job, an employee may be required to: stand, walk, reach with hands and arms, have vision ability and talk or hear.  



  • Master’s Degree in Social Work is required.

  • Licensed in Wisconsin as APSW is required.



  • Minimum of three years of experience post MSW required.

  • Experience in medical social work, child welfare, hospice or mental health settings preferred.

  • Experience with grief/bereavement and/or trauma preferred.

  • Experience working successfully with multi-disciplinary teams preferred.

  • Experience supervising social work interns preferred.


Reports to: Social Work Program Manager

Date Effective: April 10, 2019


For more information or to apply for the position, please contact Erika Brown, Talent Acquisition Specialist at or call 414-540-6710. 


Job Details

May 7, 2019
Office Support
Full Time
Oak Creek
3 Years