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 9.2 | Fall 2019

Editorial

Letter From the Editor: “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”

Show me a social work field department that is not engaged daily in huddles: making complicated decisions, brokering tailored plans, toiling over ethical quandaries, or determining the readiness of students for placement (a humbling responsibility), and I will assure you that the academic year has not yet begun.

Such is the life and the energy of field education: preparing diverse groups of students to bring their own humanity to the table – all in the name of impacting the humanity of others. I think we call that the “professional use of self.” We know that the process goes better sometimes than it does others.

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Field Scholar

Self-Care Among Field Practicum Supervisors: Assessing The Self-Care Wellshop™

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Abstract

Few studies have empirically examined training approaches aimed at improving self-care among field supervisors. This brief documents the assessment of The Self-Care Wellshop™, a training that was delivered to field supervisors (N=40) in one southeastern state. Evaluators employed a retrospective pre-post design to examine variables of interest. Overall, findings indicate that participants were satisfied with the training. As well, analyses reveal significant increases in self-care knowledge and value associated with self-care. Data from this study suggest that specific attention to proffering self-care trainings to field supervisors can be beneficial and may have implications for socializing students matriculating into the profession.

Keywords: Self-Care; Training Model; Field Supervisors
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“How to Connect the Two”: Social Media in Field Education

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Abstract

Social media use is growing rapidly among the general public. This study examined social media use patterns among field instructors and explored the benefits and barriers of using social media in field education. Data were collected through a cross-sectional survey with close- and open-ended questions. A total of 153 field instructors participated. The results showed that the majority of field instructors have not used social media in field education. They also identified advantages and challenges of social media use in field education. Future research should further explore how social media can be used to strengthen the field education effort.

Keywords: social media; social networking; field education; social work education; student supervision
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Challenges and Recommendations for Rural Field Education: A Review of the Social Work Literature

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Abstract

Individuals in rural communities are in need of social workers who are prepared to address their needs. Field education helps prepare students for professional practice, and should be structured to address the needs of rural communities. This literature review examines the social work literature for best practices in rural field education and provides recommendations to improve field education in rural settings.

Keywords: rural; literature review; field education
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Practice Digest

Extending a Field Program to a Satellite Campus

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Introduction

According to data from the National Association of Social Workers (2015), the social work profession is still predominantly female and white, though recent data from the Council on Social Work Education (2018) suggest the social work student body is more racially and ethnically diverse, particularly among part-time students. Part-time students in both BSW and MSW programs are also older—ages 25 to 34—than their full-time counterparts (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2018). As urban, suburban, and rural communities around the U.S. continue to become more diverse, social work programs aim to graduate students competent to practice in a variety of contexts.

Over the past decade, the social work literature has increasingly acknowledged that the field requires not only effective practice with diverse populations, but a social work student body and workforce reflective of this diversity as well (Doyle & George, 2008; McCormack, 2008). According to the George Washington University Health Workforce Institute (2018) the field is on its way. Researchers found that recent graduates from social work programs were diverse in age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Most also entered the field with previous work experience.

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Reflections on Teaching and Learning in Field Education: A Teacher-Scholar Model

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Introduction

Field education has long been an important part of professional social work education (Abbott, 1942). The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards states that social work field education is the signature pedagogy of BSW and MSW programs (CSWE, 2015).

Developing high quality field education programs must be a high priority for social work educational programs. However, internal and external barriers often exist to achieving this goal. Externally there is often competition between schools in close proximity to one another for quality field placements and field instructors. Internally, increased emphasis on research and publication placed on faculty members can limit time available for full and active investment in the field supervision process (Bogo, 2010; Dalton, Stevens, & Maas-Brady, 2009).

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Voting is Social Work: What Field Educators Need to Know

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Introduction

Voting is social work. Voting is a fundamental right of citizenship, hard-won by people of color, women, and immigrants over the course of United States history. The extent to which voting is woven into our individual and collective identities as U.S. citizens is shown by the many benefits voting provides. Voting can improve personal wellbeing by lessening mental health consequences related to marginalization and oppression (Sanders, 2001), and by providing a personal sense of empowerment (Davis, 2010). Increased voting can benefit communities by resulting in increased community resources (Martin, 2003; Martin & Claibourn, 2013). Voting is one of the most direct levers affecting social work policy. Simply put, social welfare policy reflects the views of those who vote. For example, an increase in participation by low-income voters leads to policies that reduce income inequality (Avery, 2015), and result in greater spending on healthcare for low-income children, higher minimum wages, and more regulations of predatory lending (Franko, 2013). Addressing these issues, at the personal, community, and national levels, lies at the heart of social work as a profession.
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Conversations

A Conversation on the Experience of Field Education for Students with Disabilities

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[Editor’s Note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Elizabeth Whitney, MSW, Assistant Director of Field Education-Curriculum and Training for Simmons University’s online program SocialWork@Simmons, with Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, Assistant Professor and Lisa R. Kiesel, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, both at St. Catherine University. They explore themes from their recent article (written with Elizabeth Lightfoot, Professor at University of Minnesota School of Social Work) Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities: Social Workers With Disabilities and Experiences in Field Education published in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2018 available at https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2018.1507365]

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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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Field Finds

Trauma-Informed Field Instruction and Models of Practice

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Introduction

This review examines the application of a trauma-informed perspective to field education programs and models of supervision. There are many dimensions to this topic. While there is emerging literature on trauma-informed social work supervision and field instruction (Berger & Quiros, 2016; Knight, 2018) there remains minimal exploration of how a trauma-informed model of care can be applied to a social work field education model.

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Kudos

Riva Zeff: On Directing Field, Mentoring, and Lessons Learned

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[Editor’s Note: Riva Zeff, MSW is retiring after 50 years in foster care, adoptions, and social work field education. To celebrate her contributions during 11 years (3 as co-chair) on the Baccalaureate Program Directors Field Education Committee, three current and former field directors recently interviewed her. Our Kudos for this issue are compiled excerpts from that interview. The full interview is available through StoryCorps at https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/reflections-of-a-social-work-field-educator.]

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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 »