5 Things Every Social Work Case Manager Should Know

What are five things every social work case manager should know? The list is long, but it’s important to go through at least some of the important things to keep in mind. Social work is a meaningful career, but some professionals aren’t adequately prepared for all the different issues the work entails. Read on to learn more about social work case management.

1. The Job is Challenging

Becoming a social work case manager is stressful; it involves long hours, overtime, and the emotional toll that comes when a client is put in a difficult position. It requires a great deal of empathy, not only for the client the case manager is working with, but their friends and loved ones as well. In addition to the stress of helping out a client, there’s a shortage of case managers, which leads into massive workloads and not enough time sorting out each specific case. Because the job can be so challenging, it’s important that social work case managers take that into account when building their career paths.

2. Specializations Affect Job Prospects

Most social work case managers are aware that children are the main focus of their field; however, they would do well to remember that there are a variety of other specializations found within social work case management. Family, school, public health, addictions, mental health, and gerontology are all subdivisions of social work. If a case manager decides to specialize, it will affect their job prospects; moving from generalist to a specialization will open up doors to work in hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, and even in some government agencies. While most of the demand for case managers is in entry-level social work, there is a growing need for specialists as well, so it’s best for a social worker to keep that in mind if they choose to pursue a graduate education.

3. There’s More to Case Managing Than Working With Clients

Social work case managers know that working with clients is the bulk of their work, but there’s more to the profession than that. Most case managers will spend the majority of their time speaking with family members and friends of their clients, collaborating with a team on the best avenue of treatment or legal process for their client, reading and writing reports, and analyzing records. Because of this, social work case managers need to have a wealth of interpersonal and communication skills; critical thinking and judgment skills are also required in order to be successful in this profession.

4. Networking is Key

One thing that every social work case manager should know is the importance of networking. While it can seem like an immoral way to go about building a career, it’s actually critical to network with professionals within social work that work in different industries. This is because a child social work case manager might fit the need of a health care social work case manager and vice versa, allowing both professionals to make a referral based on someone they already know. It’s a great way to help out a client who needs a case manager and to build a career reputation as a reliable and valuable case manager in the field of social work.

5. Education is Ongoing

The last thing every social work case manager should know is that education never stops in this profession. Even after school and licensing, it’s imperative that a social work case manager continues to educate themselves, whether by taking online courses, attending workshops and conferences or by reading scholarly articles about their profession. Social case work managers need to continue their education because psychology, social work, and sociology continue to evolve, meaning there are some concepts and therapy processes that may be useful to them in their work. Additionally, it shows a commitment to a career that has an aim of making each client’s life better, both in the short term and in the long run.

Social work case managing is one of the most in-demand but rarely filled professions in America. They can be found in every aspect of public life, including the health care, social work, education, and child services. While there are more than five things every social work case manager should know, the most important is this: the job has long-lasting effects on the clients who receive case management help.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs