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Social Work Documentation, 3rd Edition
A Guide to Strengthening Your Case Recording
Nancy L. Sidell
ISBN: 978-0-87101-592-1. 2024. Item #5921. 276 pages.
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Earn 8.0 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.

Despite so much time spent documenting, social workers often have a negative response to documentation—it is the bane of many professionals’ existence. To many social workers, documentation means responding to unnecessary bureaucratic demands and tending to tedious and boring details instead of spending time on their true passion: working with clients. Overworked social workers do not appreciate the requirement for case recording and often delay the task. The phrase “if it’s not documented, it’s not done” is commonly used to encourage better documentation habits, but the particulars of how to do so are less well noted.

Designed to help practitioners build writing skills in a variety of settings, Social Work Documentation is a how-to guide for social work students and practitioners interested in improving their record keeping and documentation skills. This wildly popular, must-have resource provides practical advice on current practice issues such as electronic case recording, trauma-informed documentation, and assessing and documenting client cultural differences of relevance.

The third edition has been updated to view documentation through person-first language, and includes a new chapter on bias-free language selection, with examples and exercises to ensure appropriate wording choices are used related to age, disability, immigration and socioeconomic status, and gender and sexual orientation.

Over 120 exercises throughout the book build skills through application and practice. Designed to elicit written answers, the exercises can be completed individually or with a colleague, supervisor, or fellow student. Peer learners can work through the exercises and provide one another with helpful feedback. A supervisor can provide specific and constructive feedback to promote more polished and professional recording abilities. In all cases, the skills learned will greatly enhance a social worker’s professionalism and ultimately result in better service to clients.
About the Author
About This Book

Part I: Understanding Documentation

Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Work Documentation
Chapter 2: Documentation Today
Chapter 3: Laying the Foundation
Chapter 4: Special Issues in Documentation
Chapter 5: Language Selection Matters

PART II: Sections of a Case Record

Chapter 6: Information Summary Sheets
Chapter 7: Confidentiality, Release Forms, and Informed Consent Forms
Chapter 8: Assessments and Treatment Plans
Chapter 9: Documenting Client Progress
Chapter 10: Communication with and about Clients

PART III: Beyond the Basics

Chapter 11: Getting and Giving Feedback
Chapter 12: Supervision and Documentation
Chapter 13: The Future of Documentation

Nancy L. Sidell, PhD, is a professor emeritus of social work at Mansfield University, Mansfield, Pennsylvania. She served as BSW program director, department chair, and dean of the faculty during her tenure at Mansfield University. Sidell has over 18 years of practice experience as a social worker in health, mental health, and nursing home settings. She is a professor of social work in Capella University’s DSW program and an exam development consultant with the Association of Social Work Boards. Additionally she is a coauthor (with Denise K. Smiley) of Professional Communication Skills in Social Work. She has also authored numerous journal articles. She lives in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and enjoys quilting, road biking, and hiking.
Earn 8.0 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.