Specialist software will better prepare students for social work

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Social work students at Staffordshire University are piloting new software that replicates recording systems used in the profession.

The students are using the Social Care Network’s digital recording system CHARMS™ alongside simulation activity to get insights into situations faced by social workers and the experience of recording all interactions with clients.

Zoe Yeomans, Lecturer in Practice Learning at Staffordshire University, said: “For social workers it’s the most important part of practice to remember; if you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen! It backs up a social worker professionally and it also backs up the organisation they are working in.

“Accurate records are also important to the people we support as, if they request to see their files, it tells them the story of their lives and explains why things happened the way they did.”

The purchase of the new system has been made possible following a successful bid for Department for Education funding. Zoe is project managing delivery of the CHARMS system, on behalf of the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership, to Staffordshire University and eight other university providers. Their experience and evaluation of the system will then be shared in a report.

At Staffordshire University, the system is being used alongside simulation activity which involves students interacting with clients in the Immersive Suite, which can be made to look like a hospital side room, or Community House which replicates a person’s home setting. The true-to-life scenarios increase in complexity as students’ progress through the course from “novice” to “expert” and CHARMSwill be used to build case files on the clients.

Zoe added: “In practice we are expected to record everything we do, so we’re aiming to provide a platform that supports students to practise that prior to going into placements and practice.”

Social work student Robin Sangha is among those hoping to make a positive difference to people’s lives as a qualified social worker.

He said: “Obviously in real life we’ll be accessing systems quite a lot and looking at case records and this can all be done online and save us a lot of time so it will help us to prepare for the future.”

Mary Shannon, Head of Department for Social Work, added: “We’re delighted to be the trailblazers and learn how to make the most out of this system for the benefit of our students and the wider profession. We’re working closely with Lee Pardy-McLaughlin, Principal Social Worker in Children’s Services at Stoke-on-Trent City council, on this and a number of other initiatives which ensure that our students can hit the ground running when they enter the workplace.”

Amy Platts

Media Communications Officer

t: 01782 292702

07799 341911

e: amy.platts@staffs.ac.uk

Staffordshire University is a Civic University which plays a leading role in improving the regional economy and enhancing quality of life in local communities. We pride ourselves on being connected to the needs of students, academic partners, business and society.

We ranked 6th for social inclusion in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 and were in the top 15 for Student Satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2022.

Our main city campus in Stoke-on-Trent features excellent learning and teaching facilities and good transport links. We have a Centre for Health Innovation in Stafford and our Staffordshire University London campus is committed to preparing students for careers in new and emerging tech industries.