All Practice Digest

Developing a Faculty-Led Field Practicum: Factors to Consider

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In 2012, the state of Delaware experienced an unprecedented number of suicide deaths among youth and young adults (aged 13-21). A CDC epidemiologic investigation found mental health problems as a major determinant of the suicide deaths. Faculty members in the Department of Social Work at Delaware State University (DSU) collaborated with the Office of Field Instruction to develop a faculty-led field practicum to address the problem.  This article addresses the factors that were considered, including adhering to the philosophy of field instruction at DSU, assessing students’ understanding and mastery of core competencies, and supporting the department’s mission and key underpinnings.
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Service-User Involvement in Social Work Education: The Road Less Traveled

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Introduction

This paper outlines the experiences of an undergraduate social work program (Bachelor of Social Work) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Two terms used throughout the paper include: 1) “service user,” equivalent to “client” in the North American context and 2) “caregiver” also known as “carer,” a term used to describe individuals who play the role of caring or supporting service users/clients.

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Virtual Academic Challenges To Real-Time Trauma

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Helping graduate level social work students address and process recent mass casualty violence is a challenge to any classroom.  We feel it is especially challenging when the classroom is virtual. While the virtual format allows for video and audio contact, students and instructors may be thousands of miles apart and see each other, like the old Hollywood Squares television program, from only the shoulders to the top of the head. Our Virtual Academic Center (VAC), while in most ways a marvel of technology, does present special challenges when faculty is confronted with such sensitive issues as the killings in Orlando, the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the shooting of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

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To Educate Students or not to Educate Students, That is no Longer the Question: An Innovative Approach to Building Professional Commitment to Social Work Field Education

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The author would like to acknowledge the generous financial support received from the Bertha Rosenstadt Trust Fund in Health Research, administered through the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, to carry out this research. She would also like to thank the social workers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center for participating in this research.

Introduction

Field education is considered the “signature pedagogy” of the social work profession (Council on Social Work Education, 2008) and has been identified as the most significant component of the social work curriculum in preparing competent, effective and ethical social workers (Bogo, 2015). However, despite its primacy, field education continues to face considerable challenges, especially in terms of how to encourage professional commitment to training and to generate sufficient numbers of student placements. This has been a long-standing issue for universities and the field alike. This paper describes an innovative and highly effective approach that was developed and implemented by the social work service at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, to ensure that every social worker is regularly involved in offering student placements. This strategy has widespread relevance and application for all agencies employing social workers, as well as for other professions.

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Innovating with GRACE: Workforce Development in Geriatric Social Work

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The field of social work faces an urgent need to prepare its workforce for the upcoming surge in the population of Americans over the age of 65. Current predictions state that by 2060 the United States alone will have 98 million older adults, nearly double the current figure (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). With greater longevity comes a greater need for specialized health and mental health services, such as those provided by social workers. By as soon as 2020, an estimated 70,000 additional social workers will be needed to provide services to the older adult population (Pace, 2014). Despite the growing demand, literature has repeatedly cited a shortage of social work professionals who choose to work with older adults (Bures, Toseland & Fortune, 2003; Lee, Damron-Rodriguez, Lawrance, & Volland, 2009; Wang & Chonody, 2013). While 5,000 new geriatric social workers are needed each year, only 1,071 master’s level social work students select gerontology as their concentration (Wang & Chonody, 2013). Furthermore, only 12% of licensed social workers identify aging as their primary area of practice (Lee et al., 2009).

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