Social Workers in Case Management - Is there anyone out there? - Kim Russell

Posted 14th January 2009

I have noticed over the years that as a Social Worker in Case Management I seem to be in a minority.  I've been thinking for a while that it would be good to develop a support network of Social Workers in Case Management.  The majority of Case Managers seem to be Occupational Therapists, Nurses and Physiotherapists.  We all have our own professional backgrounds and I wouldn't want to suggest that any one profession is better suited to Case Management, but I rarely meet Case Management colleagues who have a social work background.  I wonder why this is?

 

SOCIAL WORKERS IN CASE MANAGEMENT - IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

I have noticed over the years that as a Social Worker in Case Management I seem to be in a minority.  I've been thinking for a while that it would be good to develop a support network of Social Workers in Case Management.  The majority of Case Managers seem to be Occupational Therapists, Nurses and Physiotherapists.  We all have our own professional backgrounds and I wouldn't want to suggest that any one profession is better suited to Case Management, but I rarely meet Case Management colleagues who have a social work background.  I wonder why this is?

Whilst considering why Social Workers make good Case Managers, I have been reflecting on a recent case where the defendant's solicitor asked why I had been appointed in preference to an OT Case Manager.  When I considered this question, I found that it was certainly a reasonable thing to ask, given that at that time the client was settled in a new house and mainly needed support to make sure her home and environment were accessible and safe.  However, at the time of my appointment this client was a single mother with a newly acquired disability supporting a young and very active young child, and facing imminent homelessness.  All of my social work skills were needed in assessing her needs, providing psychosocial support and thinking laterally to respond to the immediate crisis situation she was facing, whilst also considering the longer term Case Management needs of her and her child.  My appointment, in my view, was entirely appropriate, and the client's solicitor (who had appointed me) agreed.  I had the right skills to deal with the problems she was facing.  My background in social work meant that I knew which services to tap into and where to go for further advice and support. 

The CMSUK Standards are highly compatible with the requirements of the General Social Care Council for social workers in training and as well as the post qualifying framework for those with more experience.  Reflective practice is at the heart of social work and I can't imagine undertaking complex Case Management without using all the skills I have developed through my social work training and practice.

I keep my social work knowledge up to date by teaching on Kingston University's Post Qualifying programme as well as working with student social workers on placement and with practice teachers in training.  I am ‘long-arming' students in social work placements but I am interested in exploring whether there could be learning opportunities for social work students in Case Management organisations.  I think that Case Management is a great career option for experienced Social Workers.

If there is anybody who would be interested in working with me to develop a support network of Social Workers in Case Management I would be very keen to hear from you.   You can contact me via the CMSUK website.

KIM RUSSELL

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