The Field Educator, an online journal produced by the Simmons School of Social Work, promotes knowledge exchange among the social work field education community.

volume-6.1-cover

Volume 6.1 | Spring 2016

Editorial

From the Editor: “Moving the Needle” in Field Education

How apropos it is, and what an honor for the Field Educator, to have Dr. Darla Spence Coffey, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Social Work Education, engaged in an interview by Dr. Bill Fisher, Director of Field Education and professor at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a leader of the task force that developed a first ever-survey of field directors in the United States for the purpose of learning about the state of field education.
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Field Scholar

Employment Interview Simulation Project: Evaluation and Application to Social Work Field Education

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Abstract: The transition from student to professional is challenging and often filled with pressure to secure relevant employment in a competitive market. We provided MSW students with employment interview simulations during their final practicum to evaluate the application and utility of this training to social work field education. A participatory action research model was utilized. Primary themes were identified as fundamental to interviews, including: managing anxiety, self-reflection, and effective communication. Overall, students found the process and feedback to be invaluable to their learning. We suggest ways in which interview training can be integrated into field education to strengthen students’ postgraduate employability.

Keywords: Simulation interviews, interview training, MSW students, field education, managing anxiety
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Engaging Field Instructors to Develop Measurements of Student Learning Outcomes in School Social Work Settings

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Abstract: The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has a distinct emphasis on the development of student competencies and has made a strong declaration that field education is the “signature pedagogy” of the social work profession (CSWE, 2008).  This has required professional preparation programs to examine whether MSW students have acquired social work skills in field settings. Since the social work code of ethics encourages practitioners to engage community stakeholders in the decision making processes, we advocate for partnering with field instructors to develop rating scales and a formative process by which those skills will be taught and evaluated. This article describes the process of developing an evaluation tool and initial outcomes that resulted from its utilization.

Key words: field instructor partnership; field evaluation tool; formative evaluation; social work skills rating scale; school social work
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The Logistics of Practicum: Implications for Field Education

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Abstract: The logistics of field practicum in social work education, specifically the number of hours that students are able to complete, have yet to be reported in the literature. Survey results of 199 BSW and 507 MSW students from U.S. and Canadian Schools of Social Work shed light on the extent to which students are meeting hourly field education requirements. Findings indicate that one quarter of students do not anticipate being able to complete the required number of field hours by the end of the semester, and another quarter report not accurately logging their hours. These findings raise important questions about ethical standards and current models of field practicum.
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The Resurgence of Moral Basis in Social Work Field Education: The Experience of Field Instructors in Hong Kong

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Abstract: A reflective paradigm, practice wisdom (a kind of moral engagement practice), represents a challenge to the dominant paradigm of technical rationality when dealing with human interactions in the context of social work practice. The author developed a theoretical framework of four features of practice wisdom, a practical moral knowledge, and explored how field instructors exercise this pedagogical practice wisdom in social work field instruction in Hong Kong. This article evaluates concerns about field instructors’ role in reviving the moral basis in their teaching. Implications for field instructors are discussed.

Keywords: field instructors, moral engagement, practice wisdom
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Practice Digest

Utilizing Student/Peer-Facilitators to Create a Dynamic Field Seminar Learning Environment

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Introduction: Schools of social work are training grounds for professionals who, on the whole, will continue on to practice in the community, as opposed to residing within “the ivory towers” of academia. In order to support students in bridging the gap between the academy and the practice world, integrative seminars are structured to connect course content to the students’ goals and experiences. The nature of the integrative classroom format enables students to make the connection between the theory of the profession and their practice in the field. As a result, the integrative seminar is the ideal classroom companion to field education.
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Developing a Successful Social Work Practicum in a Private Veterinary Specialty Hospital

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Social workers have worked in veterinary settings in the United States since the early 1980’s. Beginning in 1982, Susan Cohen, DSW directed one of the earliest client support programs at Animal Medical Center in New York City training numerous social work interns. By the early 1990’s, only a handful of helping professionals were employed by schools of veterinary medicine around the country.  Today, the majority of schools of veterinary medicine employ social workers or counselors with other degrees, but their roles in the schools vary.  Some work with bereaved animal owners (clients) exclusively; some only offer counseling for veterinary students, and others teach communication skills to the students.  There are only thirty schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, and few of the schools, even when they employ degreed social workers, offer internship opportunities to students of social work. Some veterinary private practitioners throughout the country, especially those with large or specialty practices, have recognized the value of adding professional social work services to their practice. This unique area of social work demands some specialized training, and social work students hoping to concentrate in the area of veterinary medicine desire more internship opportunities.
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Conversations

The Future of Field Education: A Conversation with Darla Spence Coffey

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[Editor’s Note: In this issue’s Conversation, Dr. Darla Spence Coffey, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Social Work Education, is interviewed by Springfield College’s Director of Field Education and Professor, Dr. Bill Fisher. In a wide-ranging interview we learn about Dr. Coffey’s thoughts on the preliminary findings of the recent national Commission on Field Education (COFE) survey, and her impressive efforts to better link Field Education to federal workforce development initiatives. CSWE’s new affiliation with The National Center for Interprofessional Practice in Education is also discussed. Preliminary findings of the COFE survey of Field Directors on Models, Staffing and Resources can be found at CSWE]   

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What We're Reading

Recent Articles of Note

Staying current with scholarship enriches the work of field educators: it teaches us innovative ways to solve perennial field problems, suggests new readings for field seminars, keeps us abreast of current debates in social work education, and even inspires us in our own writing on theory and research. “What We’re Reading” presents our brief summaries of the findings of recent publications in field education. Our emphasis is on implications for practice. Readers are encouraged to suggest articles or books for future review.
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Book Review – Finding Your Way Through Field Work

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Glassman, U. E. (2016). Finding your way through field work: A social work student’s guide. Washington, DC: Sage Publications, Inc.
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Students Speak

My Second Date of Birth: Learning Limits in a Helping Profession

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On my first day as a first year MSW graduate student, a faculty speaker told the story of how she was “bitten” by a case experience and fell in love with social work not long after she began her career. My field advisor calls driving events like these “aha!” moments. The same week, I had the opportunity to hear an MSW graduate attempt to prove that “social workers are not made; they’re born.” These two thoughts began to tumble around in my brain, and I wondered anxiously when I would come to experience both of these notions. I was standing on the brink of a wonderful adventure as I began my first field placement two short weeks later.

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Balance is a Four-Letter Word

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Thomas Merton once said, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.” So often in the hustle and bustle of life, we lose sight of our happiness in favor of intensity; the intensity of our schedules, the demands placed upon us, our expectations of ourselves, and our constant drive towards our ambitions. Never has this been truer for me as it is right now, in the very throes of my last semester of graduate school.
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Kudos

2015 Heart of Social Work Award Winner: Carol Heinisch

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[Carol Heinisch was named winner of the 2015 Heart of Social Work Award at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Denver, CO on October 17, 2015. The award is presented annually by the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors in recognition of an agency-based field instructor that has made exemplary contributions to field education and the social work profession. What follows is taken from the nomination submitted by Kathryn Ross, Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, in support of Carol Heinisch as an excellent candidate for the award. – Editor’s Note]

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Simmons

The Field Educator is an online journal published by the Simmons School of Social Work that promotes knowledge exchange among the social work field education community. Learn more about Simmons SSW »

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