All Field Scholar articles

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

Published October 2019

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Erlene Grise-Owens, EdD
The Wellness Group, ETC

Theresia M. Pachner, MSSW
University of Kentucky
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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

Published October 2019

by Lin Fang, PhD
University of Toronto

Maria Al-Raes, MA
University of Toronto

Vivian F. Zhang, MSW
University of Toronto
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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

Published October 2019

by Rachel L. Wright, PhD
Appalachian State University

Kristin W. Harmon, MSW
Appalachian State University
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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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An Anti-Oppressive Model for International Practicums

Published May 2019

by Elizabeth Patterson Roe, PhD
Malone University
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Abstract

This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of social workers who completed international practicums and how their experiences have impacted their practice after their placement. Based on the results, a model is presented to support the trifecta of stakeholders: the student, the administration, and the community served. The model includes the organization of: meaningful orientation and debriefing, an anti-oppressive practicum learning environment that aligns with the community’s needs, communication between the sending institution and host program, and professional supervision for students that provides organized oasis experiences that encourage immersion and cultural growth and learning.

Keywords: international social work practicums; cross-cultural social work; cultural competency; anti-oppressive practice; international social work education
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Field Instructor Perspectives on Challenging Behaviors in Social Work Practicum

Published May 2019

by Lisa A. Street, EdD
Evangel University
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Abstract

Students sometimes struggle in practicum, failing to demonstrate acceptable application of social work values and skills learned in the classroom. When students are unprepared and unskilled in field, responsibility for professional gatekeeping often falls to field instructors. In this exploratory qualitative study, 13 field instructors identified student characteristics that were most challenging during field supervision: little openness to feedback, direction, or supervision; poor personal and professional boundaries; incongruence with social work values; and disengagement from practicum and the social work profession. In addition, field instructors shared their views for improving student screening and gatekeeping throughout the social work curriculum.

Keywords: field education, social work practicum, social work education, student supervision, poorly performing students, qualitative research
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Engaging Field Instructors as Standardized Patients in Social Work Education

Published May 2019

by Maureen Rubin, PhD
University of Nevada, Reno

Gillian Francis, MSW
Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services
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Abstract

Health science programs have engaged in simulation and have involved standardized patients (SPs) to create learning opportunities. This paper is centered on a class activity that involved social work clinicians/field instructors from the community as SPs to engage in simulated situations. The activity was incorporated in courses to create opportunities for students to apply knowledge gained in classrooms to enhance skills through simulated situations with an SP. Findings suggest that students agreed or strongly agreed that the activity helped them with active listening skills. This paper highlights the educational strengths of engaging field instructors as SPs to strengthen practice skills.

Keywords: standardized patient; field educator; simulation

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The Contribution of Clinical Supervision to Wellness in the Workplace: Implications for Social Work Field Education

Published May 2019

by Patricia Samson, PhD
University of Calgary

Sherri Tanchak, MSW
University of Calgary

Julie L. Drolet, PhD
University of Calgary

Amy Fulton, PhD
University of Calgary

Linda Kreitzer, PhD
University of Calgary
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Abstract

Field education in social work is intricately connected to the state of the social service sector, with implications for the quality of workplace practices to support wellness for practitioners within the organizational context. This context shapes the supervisory process; therefore, institutional wellness policies and practices are an essential consideration when supervising social work practitioners and field practicum students. This article presents a review of the clinical supervision literature, particularly in relation to organizational wellness, followed by a discussion on the implications of the interrelationship between organizational wellness and clinical supervision for social work field education.

Keywords: supervision, wellness, field supervision, organizational wellness, field education

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Readiness for Practice in Social Work Through a Constructionist Lens

Published October 2018

by Karene-Anne Nathaniel, PhD
The University of the West Indies at St. Augustine
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Abstract

This conceptual article applies social constructionist thinking to an analysis of the term readiness for social work practice and its uses. “Readiness,” “ready,” and “not ready” are frequently used colloquially in casual conversations and formally in evaluating student/practitioner aptitude for professional practice; multiple understandings of readiness and how it develops are apparent. Multiple understandings of readiness seem to feed practice assessment and for this reason the apparent multiplicity in sense-making about what it means to be ready (or not) becomes potentially problematic. Social work educators are encouraged to be vigilant to how practice interactions are socially constructed and how this informs conclusions about readiness.

Keywords: social constructionism; readiness; field instruction; practice assessment
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Recruiting, Maintaining, and Sustaining Integrated Behavioral Health Sites for Field Education

Published October 2018

by Lisa de Saxe Zerden, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meryl Kanfer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

M. Theresa Palmer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Anne Jones, PhD
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rebecca B. Brigham, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Abstract

Models of integrated behavioral health care are expanding nationwide wherein physical and behavioral health are met concurrently. Social workers, with their clinical and communication skills and strengths-based person-in-environment approach, are well-suited for these settings. In response, social work field placement settings need to keep pace with health care system demands. This paper discusses key components to successfully recruit and sustain integrated behavioral health field placement sites. Challenges encountered as well as helpful strategies to overcome barriers will be addressed to help ensure quality learning experiences for social work students, optimum support for field instructors, and sustained community partnerships.

Keywords: integrated primary care, integrated care, field education, social work field placement
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Exploring the Self-Care Practice of Practicum Supervisors: Implications for Field Education

Published October 2018

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Jessica Donohue-Dioh, MSW
Campbellsville University

Shelagh Larkin, MSW
Xavier University

Chunling Niu, EdD
University of Kentucky

Rachel Womack, BS
University of Kentucky

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Abstract

Despite the increasing attention to self-care within the broader social work profession, research on the topic is nominal, particularly within the context of social work education. This cross-sectional, exploratory study surveyed social work field practicum supervisors (N=127) in one Southeastern state regarding their personal and professional self-care practices. Results indicate a significant relationship between two key variables and personal and professional self-care scores, respectively. Specifically, social work field practicum supervisors from for profit entities reported higher self-care practices than those employed at non-profit entities. As well, those with a social work license indicated higher self-care. Both of these variables (e.g., employer type and licensing status) significantly explained self-care. After a review of relevant literature, this paper reports findings, presents pertinent discussion points, and explicates apposite areas for future research.

Keywords: self-care; field practicum supervisors; social work education
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Innovations in Field Education to Improve Integrated Care for Young People and their Families

Published October 2018

by Carrie W. Rishel, PhD
West Virginia University

Helen P. Hartnett, PhD
West Virginia University
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Abstract

Health care services are rapidly changing, shifting away from traditional models toward integrated approaches relying on team-based care. To meet evolving workforce needs, social workers must be prepared for interprofessional team practice in integrated health settings. Much of students’ practical training occurs in field placements. Agencies may not be prepared for integrated and interprofessional practice, presenting a challenge for students in preparing for work in integrated health settings. This article describes how implementation of a student-training model informed the need to more purposefully include the field in training. Specific innovations in field education to improve student and agency preparation to provide integrated care for youth and families are discussed.

Keywords: social work education; field education; interprofessional education (IPE); integrated health; behavioral health
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Admission of Master’s Degree Students with Criminal Backgrounds: Implications for Field Directors

Published May 2018

by Chavon D. Dottin, EdD, MEd, MSW
Delaware State University
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Abstract

This study was designed to explore Master of Social Work programs’ policies when admitting students with criminal backgrounds and the implications of this practice for field directors. The issue of students with criminal records is a challenging one for social work programs and the responsibility is often left solely to the field director. In this study, field directors participated in an online survey related to perceived challenges, gate-keeping practices, and policy development. Findings and recommendations are discussed.

Keywords: criminal background checks, field director, social work field education
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Assessing BSW Student Documentation Skills: An Exploratory Study

Published May 2018

by Tiffany Welch, DSW
Mansfield University

Lisa Kunzmann, MSW
Mansfield University
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Abstract

Using a modified version of an existing documentation review worksheet, researchers conducted an exploratory study that examined the quality of documentation among senior BSW social work majors in their last semester, in which they complete a 500-hour field practicum. Results showed that one percent of students documented a client strength and 45.9 percent of students did not sign the document. Additionally, 96 percent of the documents were legible, and 81 percent of students included service provision in their documentation. Recommendations for further research and suggestions for replication are included.

Keywords: documentation, BSW students, writing skills standards
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Vignette-Based Skills Assessment in Social Work Field Education: Evaluating Students’ Achievement of Professional Competency

Published May 2018

by Catherine Fisher, MSW
Azusa Pacific University

Kimberly Setterlund, MSW
Azusa Pacific University
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Abstract

This study describes the development and implementation of a Vignette-Based Skills Assessment (VBSA) tool to provide a holistic evaluation of social work student skill development and demonstration of competency in field education. Study participants consisted of 58 foundation-year students from the full-time and part-time cohorts. Students were administered the VBSA at the onset of the academic year in the beginning phase of their field practicum and at the end of the year in the late phase of the field practicum. Results demonstrated statistically significant increases in students’ mastery of seven of the nine social work competencies. Score were also compared to field instructor annual evaluation of student progress but showed inconsistent correlation. Vignette-based assessment methods have demonstrated merit to effectively measure student practice skill progression over time, augmenting field instructor ratings on student practice behaviors. Secondary benefits include early detection and intervention with students who are not meeting minimum standards of practice. Challenges and limitations of the study include the length of time involved in scoring VBSAs and the need for additional research to establish validity and inter-rater reliability of the tool. Implications and opportunities for VBSA use in field evaluation and social work program outcomes evaluation are discussed.

Keywords: field education, social work, competency, student assessment, evaluation

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Volunteering Enhances the Social Work Student Experience

Published October 2017

by Angela Curl, PhD
Miami University (Ohio)

Kalea Benner, PhD
University of Kentucky
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Abstract

While field education has been designated the signature pedagogy of the social work curriculum, students often have exposure to social welfare agencies long before practicum semester(s). Despite the number of social work programs that utilize volunteering to help students better understand the social work profession, little is known about the effects of volunteering on academic measures as well as the student. This study (N=67) found that volunteering has considerable positive benefits for the implicit curriculum through socializing the student, providing a real world context, and embodying the professional value of service.

Keywords: volunteering, service learning, implicit curriculum
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The Meaning and Value of Supervision in Social Work Field Education

Published October 2017

by Melissa Ketner, MSW
Indiana State University

Dianna Cooper-Bolinskey, MSW
Indiana State University

Diane VanCleave, PhD
Indiana State University
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Abstract

Supervision has played an important role in social work field education for many years. This evaluative qualitative study considers perspectives of field instructors and students regarding the meaning and value of supervision. Findings align with the limited information available through literature review. Field instructors value teaching and giving feedback to students that shapes their professional practice in the field setting. Field instructors also value the opportunity to develop their own leadership and management skills. Students value learning from experienced professionals in the field, feedback on skill development, and the opportunity to process what is happening in field experience.

Keywords: field education, field instructor perspective, meaning and value, social work education, student perspective, supervision, qualitative

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Enhancing Partnerships with Field Instructors: Identifying Effective Retention Strategies

Published May 2017

by Ronni L. Zuckerman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Amy S. Levine, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joseph J. Frey, MSSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Abstract

Fostering long-term partnerships with field instructors is a priority for all social work field education programs. Therefore, schools of social work implement numerous strategies to enhance field instructor loyalty. This article presents results from a university survey of social work field instructors intended to identify instructors’ most-valued incentives and the most influential factors and strategies that promote field instructor retention.

Keywords: field education program, field instructor retention, incentives
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Field Practicum Supervisor Perspectives About Social Work Licensing: An Exploratory Study

Published May 2017

by J. Jay Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Stacy Deck, PhD
Spalding University

Cynthia Conley, PhD
Spalding University

Molly Bode, MSSW Candidate
Spalding University
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Abstract

This exploratory study examined field practicum supervisors’ perceptions about social work licensing. Researchers utilized a convenience sample of field practicum supervisors (N = 158) at CSWE-accredited schools in one southeastern state. An online survey was administered to collect primary data related to variables of interest. This included general knowledge about licensing, value, and impact on the profession. After a brief background discussion, this paper elucidates findings from the study; discusses implications for social work education, in general and field education specifically; and identifies appropriate areas for future research.

Keywords: Social Work Licensing; Professional Regulation; Social Work Education
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The Value of Adjuncts: A Study of the Intrinsic Factors Impacting Field Seminar Instruction

Published May 2017

by Telvis M. Rich, EdD
Capella University
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Abstract

A phenomenological research study was conducted to explore the intrinsic factors that influenced the job satisfaction of twelve adjuncts teaching field education seminar courses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants to explore their lived experiences. The study’s results indicate three emergent themes which influenced the adjuncts’ job satisfaction: 1. Professional Development, 2. Enhance the Social Work Profession, and 3. Work with Emerging Social Workers. In this article, the rich and thick descriptions of the results, implications for social work education, and recommendations for field education directors are presented.

Keywords: adjuncts, field education, job satisfaction

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A Preliminary Evaluation of a Method for Teaching Documentation to Prospective Child Welfare Interns

Published May 2017

by Michael J. Lyman, PhD
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Wendy A. Unger
University of Pittsburgh
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Abstract

Documentation of social work services is an important aspect of most field experiences. Specifically, in a child welfare setting, documentation forms the basis for life-changing court decisions. Both case-based learning and problem-based learning are well-established methods for teaching social work students about documentation. This article describes a method combining case-based learning and problem-based learning for teaching child welfare documentation to undergraduate social work students using movie characters as “clients.” A preliminary assessment of student perceptions and attitudes relative to their experience with that teaching method is presented, together with recommendations for future investigation into the extent and effectiveness of child welfare documentation training at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Keywords: documentation, case-based learning, problem-based learning, child welfare
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Preparing BSW Students for Practicum: Reducing Anxiety Through Bridge to Practicum Course

Published May 2017

by Ali Kamali, PhD
Missouri Western State University

Pam Clary, PhD
Missouri Western State University

Jana Frye, MSW
Missouri Western State University
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Abstract

A challenge for BSW programs is designing curriculum that both addresses students’ anxiety prior to their field placements and prepares students to enter the field with the necessary values, skills, and knowledge. While the literature is rich in discussions of anxiety among graduate students, there is limited research on BSW students. Hence, this study examined the effectiveness of utilizing a Bridge to Practicum course in reducing anxiety of students entering the practicum. The study further identifies topic areas that help increase preparedness for practicum. Results indicated that core social work courses had prepared students to handle the rigor of the field placement. Although students may begin with preconceived notions (about the practicum site, their field instructor, and the work they are expected to perform), a major issue with anxiety was the fear of the unknown.

Keywords: preparedness, anxiety, bridge to practicum, BSW
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Student Self Report of Core Field Instructor Behaviors that Facilitate Their Learning

Published May 2017

by Carol Coohey, PhD
University of Iowa

Lily French, LMSW
University of Iowa

Rebecca Dickinson, LISW
University of Iowa
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe student self-report of core field instructor behaviors related to their learning. In response to an anonymous survey, 168 students reported behaviors that facilitated their learning and that interfered with their learning. Using grounded theory, these behaviors were categorized into two overarching themes as developmental support or task support— and varied by age, prior work experience, and placement level. The findings can be used to evaluate field instructor performance, intervene when student learning needs are not adequately met, and train existing instructors to provide targeted instructional support.

Keywords: field instructor, supervision, practicum
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Distance Field Education: A Model for Development, Delivery, and Evaluation

Published May 2017

by Susan Cutler Egbert, PhD
Utah State University

Diane Calloway-Graham, PhD
Utah State University

Derrik Tollefson, PhD
Utah State University
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Abstract

This article provides a model for the development, delivery, and evaluation of distance field education programs. Distance field education poses benefits and challenges due to the contextual realities of students, agencies, communities, and university social work programs. The framework identifies systematic guidelines for graduating competent professionals utilizing seven components for effective implementation and administration. Model components are centered on: field policy and standards; partnerships with human service agencies; distance field supervisor orientation and ongoing training; hybrid method integrative seminar; documentation of learning contract, time and agency supervision; utilization-focused evaluation; and systematic program reflection.
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Tolerance of Heterosexism and LGBTQ-Affirmative Practice in Generalist Field Education

Published May 2017

by Trevor G. Gates, PhD
University of the Sunshine Coast

Debra Fromm Faria, MSW
State University of New York - Brockport
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Abstract

Field education has an important role in professional education for social workers and provides an opportunity for students to engage diversity in practice, including sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. However, organizational settings differ in the extent to which they tolerate heterosexism and intend to engage in LGBTQ-affirmative practice. This paper reports on a pilot study (N = 19) of students’ experiences with heterosexism and gay-affirmative practice intentions in their field education settings. There was a relationship between heterosexism tolerance and generalist field placement students’ LGBTQ-affirmative practice intentions. Results also suggested that these social work students are sensitive to LGBTQ issues and have a willingness to engage in LGBTQ-affirmative practice. Implications for classroom and field education are explored.

Keywords: heterosexism; affirmative practice; field education; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities
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Transfer of learning to the field: A follow-up with child welfare MSW students after an intensive clinical training

Published November 2016

by Elizabeth J. Greeno, PhD
University of Maryland

Laura Ting, PhD
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Kevin Wade, MSW
University of Maryland
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Abstract 

This article follows-up on a 2013 randomized trial where MSW students were taught Motivational Interviewing (MI). To assess experiences with the MI training, focus groups were held with students seven months post training. Student perceptions of the MI training, maintenance of skills learned with an emphasis on how they transferred training to their field practice and the role of field instructors was explored. Findings suggest that students were able to maintain basic MI skills but had difficulty transferring greater elements of the training to practice. The role of the field instructor was instrumental in whether students did or did not use MI in practice post training.

Keywords: clinical training transfer to field, motivational interviewing, transfer of learning, field instruction
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Evidence-based practice in social work curriculum: Faculty and field instructor attitudes

Published November 2016

by Anwar Najor-Durack, PhD
Wayne State University
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Abstract

Evidence-based practice (EBP) continues to be debated among social work educators, as well as practitioners, while many funding sources are calling for accountability demonstrated by use of EBP. While social work faculty members and field instructors may agree that EBP should be used, reaching consensus on the definition of EBP and incorporation into teaching and practice is difficult. This study considers social work faculty and field instructors’ attitudes regarding opportunities and barriers to adoption and use of EBP in social work classrooms and field placements. Results showed that field instructors, more than faculty, perceived greater opportunities to use and adopt EBP into practice.

Keywords: Evidence-Based Practice, Field Placement, Social Work Curriculum, Social Work Faculty, Field Instructors

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A Qualitative Study of BSW Students’ Cultural Competence Preparedness to Uphold Client Dignity

Published November 2016

by Stefan Battle, EdD
Rhode Island College

Anthony Hill, EdD
Springfield College
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Abstract

This qualitative study, informed by grounded theory, examined junior-level Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students’ preparedness in cultural competence skills to treat clients with respect and uphold their dignity. The researchers used Hicks’ (2013) elements of dignity, along with questions related to cultural competency, to guide a focus group with students. Overall, the students expressed readiness in the classroom to serve clients. However, some expressed uneasiness with knowing how to apply the practice skills learned in the classroom when in their field practicum. Case studies and skill lab modules could support students’ real-life skills with clients.

Keywords: social work, client dignity, cultural competence, field practicum, BSW program
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A Field Practicum Experience in Designing and Developing a Wellness Initiative: An Agency and University Partnership

Published November 2016

by Erlene Grise-Owens, EdD
Spalding University

Justin “Jay” Miller, PhD
University of Kentucky

Laura Escobar-Ratliff, CSW
Spalding University

Donia Addison, MSW
Spalding University

Midaya Marshall, MSW
Spalding University

Donna Trabue, MSW
Volunteers of America MidStates

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Abstract

Increasing complexities in field education require new field practica models.  Concomitantly, growing evidence supports the need for wellness initiatives in social service organizations.  This article describes a piloted model of a partnership between two universities and an agency, in which MSW students’ field practicum focused on conceptualizing, planning, implementing, and evaluating a wellness initiative at a social service organization.  The article offers a template for other professional programs to adapt.  The authors describe the components of the field practicum, in relation to EPAS competencies.  The authors critique the placement experience, concluding with future recommendations and further applications.

Keywords:  Wellness Initiative; Scholarship of Teaching-Learning (SoTL); Agency and University Partnership; Field placement model; Competencies
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Field Manuals: A road map to student learning?

Published November 2016

by Elisa M. Martin, PhD
Siena College

Toni-Marie Ciarfella, MPA
Independent Researcher
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Abstract

Twenty baccalaureate social work field education manuals from New York State were examined for the content they contained related to student assessment, how they linked theory and practice, and student responsibility in their learning and behavior. Data are examined in the context of the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (CSWE EPAS) and current literature. Findings highlight the range of content both in areas covered and depth of detail. Results provide a foundation for field programs to compare their manuals as they make revisions for EPAS 2015 and build on recommendations made in the 2014 CSWE Field Education Summit.

Keywords: field education, manuals, CSWE EPAS, assessment, professional behavior
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Employment Interview Simulation Project: Evaluation and Application to Social Work Field Education

Published May 2016

by Mary-Katherine Lowes, MSW, RSW
Mount Sinai Hospital

Danielle Omrin, MSW, RSW
Mount Sinai Hospital

Andrea Moore, BSW, MSW, RSW
Mount Sinai Hospital

Joanne Sulman, MSW, RSW
University of Toronto

Jill Pascoe, MSW, RSW
Mount Sinai Hospital

Eileen McKee, MSW, RSW
University of Toronto

Sabrina Gaon, MSW, RSW
Mount Sinai Hospital
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This project was made possible through funding from the Bertha Rosenstadt Trust Fund in Health Research, administered through the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

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

Published May 2016

by Robert H. Ayasse, LCSW PPSC
University of California, Berkeley
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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

Published May 2016

by Page Walker Buck, PhD, MSSW
West Chester University

Lynda Sowbel, PhD, LCSW
Hood College
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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

Published May 2016

by Sandra Oi-Ngor Cheung, RSW, PhD
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
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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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Field Education With External Supervision: Supporting Student Learning

Published October 2015

by Ines Zuchowski, PhD
James Cook University
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Abstract: The importance of field education in preparing social work students for professional practice is globally acknowledged. At times considered less desirable than placements with internal supervision, current workplace and tertiary education contexts see an increase in field education with external supervision. This paper reports on qualitative research that explored the experiences of key stakeholders in social work field education with external supervision in Australia. Findings highlight that field education with external supervision, like other social work practice learning opportunities, is focused on learning about practicing social work. Potential and inherent challenges of placements with external supervision are discussed.

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The Devil is in the Details: A Content Analysis of Field Manuals

Published October 2015

by Elisa M. Martin, PhD
Siena College

Toni-Marie Ciarfella, LCSWR
Marist College
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Abstract: The study is a content analysis of twenty undergraduate field education manuals from one northeast state using NVIVO, a qualitative data analysis software. The authors examined how the manuals’ content supports program transparency in gatekeeping into the profession and the roles of faculty field liaisons and agency field supervisors. In the transition to the 2015 Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (CSWE EPAS), the authors also examined the incorporation of the EPAS competencies. The manuals showed some consistency but also variation of content and detail.
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Building Confidence in Social Work Interns Through an Evidence-Based Practice Seminar During Field Education

Published April 2015

by Peter Ducharme, MSW
Children's Hospital Boston

Ashley Rober, BS
Children's Hospital Boston

Elizabeth Wharff, PhD
Children's Hospital Boston

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Abstract: This paper seeks to evaluate the effects of an evidence-based practice (EBP) seminar for MSW interns in building confidence in their application of clinical skills. Interns participated in an EBP seminar during their field placements and completed a therapeutic skills self-assessment form pre-post seminar, and a post-seminar impressions survey upon completion. Results indicate that following the seminar interns felt more confident in their ability to evaluate research supporting specific treatments and in using specific therapeutic techniques. Providing MSW interns with an EBP seminar during field placement is a feasible and effective way for interns to build self-confidence and learn practice-based therapeutic techniques.
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Evaluating Social Work Education Outcomes: The SWEAP Field Practicum Placement Assessment Instrument (FPPAI)

Published April 2015

by Brian Christenson, PhD
Capella University

Tobi Delong-Hamilton, PhD
University of Utah

Patrick Panos, PhD
University of Utah

Kathryn Krase, PhD
Long Island University, Brooklyn

Victoria Buchan, PhD
Colorado State University

Dorothy Farrel, PhD
Colorado State University

Tameca Harris-Jackson, PhD
Texas A&M University

Ruth Gerritsen-McKane, PhD
University of Utah

Roy Rodenhiser, EdD
Boise State University
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Abstract: This manuscript reports on the development, piloting and validation of the Field Placement/Practicum Assessment Instrument (FPPAI). The FPPAI is a measure of student attainment in social work field practicum/placement under the 2008 Education Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education. The tool is designed for use by field instructors in undergraduate and foundation year graduate social work programs. Competency of 457 students from 19 undergraduate social work programs, across 18 states, was measured over three years. Analysis supports the reliability, validity, and utility of the FPPAI as an outcome measure of the 2008 EPAS competencies, and related practice behaviors.
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Using Field Evaluation Data for Continuous Quality Improvement: A Policy Competency Example

Published October 2014

by Paul Freddolino, PhD
Michigan State University School of Social Work

Sheryl Groden, LCSW
Michigan State University School of Social Work

Julie Navarre, LMSW
Michigan State University School of Social Work

Jo Ann McFall, LMSW
Michigan State University School of Social Work

Amanda Toler Woodward, PhD
Michigan State University School of Social Work

Alisson Jahr, BASW
Michigan State University School of Social Work

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Abstract: Although many programs utilize field education outcomes in their overall assessment plan, there are few models for how to use these data for continuous quality improvement, especially when benchmarks have been met. This article presents a model for developing a field-based intervention to improve the incorporation of policy-related content in field. It is grounded in one school’s experience with the 2008 EPAS policy competency, which outcome data showed to be among the lowest competencies over several years in this school’s BASW and MSW programs. Implications for enhancing curriculum content and improving the connection between classroom and field are considered.
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Back to Basics: A Skill-Based Approach to Assessing Social Work Students within Directly-Observed Practice

Published October 2014

by Mark Irwin
Southern Health & Social Care Trust
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Abstract: This article is based on a piece of research completed with final-year social work students and practice teachers (educators/assessors) within Northern Ireland. The work was concerned with the assessment of students via direct observations of “live” practice, and captured the views, perceptions, and experiences of students and practice teachers.

The findings highlighted the complexity of the direct observation process and the need for effective skills in preparation, assessment, planning, communication, evaluation, and intervention/participation. The outcome challenges current thinking, as there was a high level of support for the use of professional discretion to intervene by practice teachers during an observation.
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Field Learning in Social Work Education: Implications for Educators and Instructors

Published October 2014

by Eleni Papouli, PhD
Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens
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Abstract: Field learning plays a leading role in social work education, and as such, social work educators and field instructors need to know how their students learn and develop during the field education experience; by being aware of the ways in which students learn and develop in social work agencies, educators and instructors can better understand students’ educational needs and find ways to best support them through the learning process in practice. In this spirit, the article examines field learning in social work education in relation to the two dominant learning approaches for students as adult learners [individual approaches (adult learning theory) and sociocultural learning approaches] and looks at their application in field placement settings. The article highlights the multifaceted nature of field learning while suggesting that sociocultural approaches are closely associated with the nature of learning in field settings, and as such, they are particularly important for understanding the process of students’ learning in social work field education.
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A Program Evaluation of Block and Concurrent Practicum Formats

Published October 2014

by Angela Curl, PhD
University of Missouri

Suzanne Cary, MSW
University of Missouri
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Abstract: This study investigates issues related to block versus concurrent formats for the advanced MSW field placement. Quantitative and qualitative survey data were collected from current MSW students (N = 103) and field instructors (N = 84). Each group identified the advantages of both block and concurrent formats for field education. Educational outcomes, the needs and preferences of students and field placement sites, and institutional perspectives should be taken into account when developing field curriculum and policies. Offering both types of practicum formats may be one way to maximize student choice and field placement options.

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Introducing FIELD: Field Instructors Extending EBP Learning in Dyads

Published October 2014

by Julie Tennille, PhD
West Chester University

Phyllis Solomon, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Joretha Bourjolly, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Andrea Doyle, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
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Abstract: Field Instructors Extending EBP Learning in Dyads (FIELD) has been crafted in consideration of the social work profession’s need for innovative and collaborative models with field education that further evidence-based practice (EBP) implementation efforts. FIELD is driven by the continuing education interests of field instructors and the availability of local expertise, and it embraces the complementary strengths of students and field instructors. Herein, we provide the background for the development of such a curricula model and delineate model components. FIELD may offer a viable curricula option for synchronizing academic and field efforts toward sustainable social work workforce improvements.
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MSW Student Perception of Evaluation Research as a Capstone Project: A Pilot Study

Published October 2014

by Marcie Fisher-Borne, PhD
North Carolina State University

Jodi K. Hall, PhD
North Carolina State University

Willa Casstevens, PhD
North Carolina State University
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Abstract: This article presents initial results of an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved case study exploring ways students may benefit from completing a capstone project within field practicum and research course sequences. The capstone project consists of an evaluation research project developed and completed during the final two semesters of a student’s MSW program. To assess perceived benefits, the authors surveyed graduating students (N = 59) at the end of their year-long project (n = 39 respondents; response rate 66%). In addition, qualitative data was obtained from written self-assessment exercises (n = 14). Lessons learned can contribute to improving pedagogy and enriching students’ field experiences.
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Inside/Outside Training: A Campus-Based Field Unit Approach for Working with Veterans

Published April 2014

by Katherine Selber, PhD
Texas State University, San Marcos

Nancy Chavkin, PhD
Texas State University, San Marcos
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Abstract: This article reports on the development and implementation of a campus-based, faculty-supervised field unit used to train Bachelor’s and Master’s-level social work students to work with military personnel, veterans, and their families. The model starts with working inside the campus environment by using services to student veterans to both respond to needs of the student veteran population and to teach competencies for serving the veteran population outside of the campus in community veteran service organizations. It discusses the lessons learned from student outcomes and program outcomes over the past three years and implications.
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Competency Level versus Level of Competency: The Field Evaluation Dilemma

Published October 2013

by Robin L. Ringstad, PhD
California State University, Stanislaus
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Abstract: This study examines the use of a competency-based scoring rubric to measure students’ field practicum performance and competency development. Rubrics were used to complete mid-year and final evaluations for 56 MSW students in their foundation field practicum. Results indicate that students scored higher than expected on competency development measures, appearing to provide evidence of good overall program outcomes in terms of competency levels achieved by students. Results also appear to provide evidence of grade inflation by field instructors, however, calling into question whether students have actually gained adequate skills to engage in competent social work practice.

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Social Attitudes of Field Instructors

Published October 2013

by Bronwyn Cross-Denny, PhD
Sacred Heart University

Janna C. Heyman, PhD
Fordham University

Yvette M. Sealy, PhD, MPH
Fordham University

Dana B. Marlowe, PhD
Fordham University

Jill Cretella, MSW
Fordham University
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Abstract: In both the classroom setting and field practicum, social work students begin to develop competence in practice with diverse populations. Field instructors play a critical role in educating students on diversity issues and preparing students to practice without bias. A cross-sectional study was conducted to better understand social attitudes of field instructors participating in a Seminar in Field Instructor (SIFI) training (N=88). The field instructors had generally positive attitudes. Results indicated that field instructors’ comfort level and demographic variables were predictors of social attitudes. Implications for social work field instruction are discussed.
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Empowering Students to Promote Social Justice: A Qualitative Study of Field Instructors’ Perceptions and Strategies

Published October 2013

by Kirsten Havig, PhD
University of Oklahoma - Tulsa
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Abstract: This qualitative study examines field instructors’ perceptions of social work practice that promotes social justice. The author conducted 17 in-depth interviews with qualified field instructors using grounded theory methods to elicit perceptions of the meaning of social justice among field instructors and pedagogical strategies related to empowering students in the promotion of social justice. Findings reflect field instruction goals and tasks based on the lived experiences of social work practitioners providing the practicum experience. This study offers a framework for social work field instruction that employs exposure to diverse clients and manifestations of injustice, focused discussion, and role modeling as educational strategies. It also provides a theoretical frame, rooted in empowerment, for field instruction that centers on student values socialization, validation through experience, building critical thinking skills, and emphasis on the reflexive action.

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The Behavior Change Project: A Field Assignment in Empathy Building, Self-Awareness, and Direct Clinical Practice

Published October 2013

by Susan Elswick, EdD, MSSW
University of Memphis
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Abstract: The author describes the use of a behavior change project implemented in a social work field seminar at the University of Memphis. Students select one of their own behaviors to change and implement an empirical study of their progress in changing the behavior. The project provides the students with an opportunity to put themselves in the client’s place in a way that also assists them with understanding direct practice and evaluating clinical outcomes.

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Reflections on LGBT Students in Social Work Field Education

Published April 2013

by Lori Messinger, PhD
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
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Abstract: Over the last twenty years, social work literature on practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations has grown, and research has begun to emerge about challenges faced by LGBT social work students and practitioners in the field. Using the author’s reflection on her own field experiences as a lesbian social work student almost twenty years ago, this article reviews the ways in which social work education and practice have changed to support these students’ unique concerns, and it details the places where educators and field instructors fail to meet LGBT students’ needs. The author also provides suggestions about ways that the profession can move forward to maximize students’ learning experiences.

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Exploring International Internships in Social Work Education

Published April 2013

by Patty Hunter, LCSW
California State University, Chico

Caitlin Hollis, MSW
University of Southern Mississippi
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Abstract: This study discusses the results of a survey completed by 228 accredited social work programs describing their international field placement opportunities. Responses were aggregated to identify the number and frequency of international placements, the countries where placements occurred, the model used to develop international placements, and the supervision and monitoring of international placements. The benefits and challenges to offering international social work placements are identified, and sustainable resources for promoting the development of international placements are discussed. The information is intended to aid in the future development of international field placements and to encourage collaborative efforts to increase access to such placements.

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Building Culturally Competent Social Work Field Practicum Students through the Integration of Campinha-Bacote’s Cultural Competence Healthcare Model

Published April 2013

by Alex Colvin, PhD
Prairie View A&M University
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Abstract: Using the Campinha-Bacote model of cultural competence, this paper examines the integration of measures for enhancing internship students’ knowledge, values, and skills for work with culturally diverse groups. The paper focuses on four constructs (cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural encounter, and cultural desire) within the model to help field educators move students beyond cultural recognition toward the formation of culturally competent identities. The paper further identifies skill-based interventions, which are aligned with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) competencies and practice behaviors to aid the internship student in preparing for professional social work practice.

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From the Editor, October 2012

Published October 2012

by Emeline Homonoff, PhD
Editor

We are celebrating the first anniversary of the Field Educator, the online journal to promote knowledge exchange within the social work field education community. In this new issue, “Field Scholar” includes peer-reviewed articles on ethics in field instruction, bridging theory and practice in a domestic violence internship, field directors’ experiences with complex and competing demands in field education, and assessing student performance in field.

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Essential Ethics Education in Social Work Field Instruction

Published October 2012

by Frederic G. Reamer, PhD
Professor, School of Social Work
Rhode Island College
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Abstract: Ethics content in field instruction is a vital component of social work education.  Ethical standards and knowledge have expanded significantly in recent years.  The author provides a comprehensive overview of core ethics content that should be incorporated into students’ internships, and also highlights key themes that should be addressed.  Essential ethics content addresses core social work values, students’ personal and professional values, ethical dilemmas in field placements and social work practice, ethical decision-making frameworks and strategies to manage ethics risks.

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Building Bridges: Training Social Work Students in Domestic Violence Work

Published October 2012

by Melanie LeGeros, MSW
Passageway, Center for Community Health and Health Equity
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Jackie Savage Borne, MSW
Passageway, Center for Community Health and Health Equity
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
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The pervasive nature of domestic violence in American society is clear. One in four women in the U.S. reports experiencing violence by a current or former partner at some point in her life (Center for Disease Control, 2008). Domestic violence is a chronically underreported crime (U.S. DOJ, 2003); many acts of coercive control within relationships may fall outside traditional legal definitions of abuse. Yet this crime has serious and lasting physical and mental health effects on women, men and children across the lifespan (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). All social workers will work with survivors regardless of their setting or treatment modality (see Danis, “Domestic Violence: A Cross-Cutting Issue for Social Workers”).

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Complex and Competing Demands in Field Education

Published October 2012

by Page Walker Buck, MSS, PhD
Assistant Professor & Chair of Field Education Curriculum, Graduate Social Work Department, West Chester University

Janet Bradley, MSS, MLSP
Director of Field Education, Undergraduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Lydia Robb
Director of Field Practicum, Graduate Social Work Program, West Chester University

Rachel Shapiro Kirzner
Director of Social Services, Specialized Health Services, Public Health Management Corporation
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The changing demographic, economic, academic, societal, and political contexts of field education in social work have been topics of much discussion and scholarship since the mid-1990s. Recent additions to this changing context include the elevation of field education to the “signature pedagogy” of social work education and the pervasiveness of commercialization within higher education. This study explores the realities of these contexts through the lens of the Field Director. Findings from fifteen in-depth, qualitative interviews suggest that Field Directors experience a complex set of competing demands at a time when needs, requests, and requirements from students, university administrators, and accreditors are on the rise, while resources in the field are diminishing.

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Assessing Student Performance in Field Education

Published October 2012

by Karen Tapp, JD, MSW
Assistant Professor, Northern Kentucky University

Caroline Macke, Ph.D, MSW
Assistant Professor, Northern Kentucky University

Tara McLendon, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
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As the signature pedagogy of social work education, assessing student performance is a critical component of individual field student and program assessment.  A central question is how to measure students’ practice competence. Student performance in field education has been evaluated by measuring students’ interpersonal skills and practice skills. In addition, the effectiveness of field has been measured through self-efficacy scales, student satisfaction scores, client satisfaction scores, and competency-based evaluation tools.  Each of these different methods of evaluation will be discussed.  The CSWE 2008 competencies integrated into student learning contracts and field assessments, surveys, quantitative research, and qualitative research are offered for social work programs’ consideration.

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2013 Prize for Excellence in Field Education Scholarship

Published October 2012

by

The Simmons School of Social Work and the Field Educator sponsor an annual award to promote excellence in field education scholarship. A $1,000 prize will be awarded for an outstanding paper on social work field education. The winning paper will be announced at the 2013 Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and will be published in the Fall issue of the Field Educator. All entries must meet the submission guidelines for the Field Scholar section of the Field Educator.

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Call for Papers, October 2012

Published October 2012

by Gianna Gifford, MA, MSLIS
Managing Editor

The “Field Scholar” is the section of the Field Educator devoted to the publication of formal, scholarly articles on theory and research in field education. “Field Scholar” is issuing a call for theory and research papers on a variety of subjects. These subjects include best practices in field instruction, measures of competencies in field, school-agency collaborations and innovative approaches to challenges in field education. These articles will be reviewed for rigor and relevance by members of a panel of noted field educators from the US and abroad; the list of consulting editors can be found in About Us.

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From the Editor

Published April 2012

by Emeline Homonoff, PhD
Editor

Welcome to the second issue of the Field Educator! In our first six months, we are pleased to have begun to fulfill our mission to promote knowledge exchange within the social work field education community. Many people have read not only the first issue of the journal, but also the regularly updated blog and news reports and we have had many enthusiastic responses. We have made outreach to field educators in other countries and to other professionals whose training involves internships. In this issue, we have representation in the “Practice Digest” section from field educators from social work schools and from their affiliated agencies. There are articles about special populations in field placements: veterans, bilingual students and students with mental health disabilities. Different forms of supervision will be described, including online field instruction and motivational interviewing in supervision. There are also descriptions of competencies in a macro setting for the LGBT community and a field placement in a large hospital. The “Students Speak” section includes an article about the intern’s “first impression” in an agency, and one about a “perfect placement” in a dialysis unit.

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$1000 Prize for Excellence in Field Education Research

Published April 2012

by

The Simmons School of Social Work and the Field Educator announce an annual award to promote excellence in field education research. A $1,000 prize will be granted for an outstanding research paper on social work field education. The first winning paper will be announced at the 2012 Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and published in the fall 2012 issue of the Field Educator.

Read more »


Call for Papers

Published April 2012

by Gianna Gifford, MA, MSLIS
Managing Editor

The “Field Scholar” is the section of the Field Educator devoted to the publication of formal, scholarly articles on theory and research in field education. “Field Scholar” is issuing a call for theory and research papers on a variety of subjects. These subjects include best practices in field instruction, measures of competencies in field, school-agency collaborations and innovative approaches to challenges in field education. These articles will be reviewed for rigor and relevance by members of a panel of noted field educators from the US and abroad; the list of consulting editors can be found in About Us.

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$1000 Prize for Excellence in Field Education Research

Published December 2011

by Jonathan Barracato
Production Editor

The Simmons School of Social Work and the Field Educator announce an annual award to promote excellence in field education research. A $1,000 prize will be granted for an outstanding research paper on social work field education. The first winning paper will be announced at the 2012 Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and published in the fall 2012 issue of the Field Educator.

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From the Editor

Published October 2011

by Emeline Homonoff, PhD
Editor

Welcome to the Field Educator! The Field Educator is an open access journal dedicated to the exchange of knowledge between field educators in academia and in the practice community. Field is the heart of social work education, and has been designated its “signature pedagogy.” There is a wealth of tacit knowledge held by field educators: field instructors/practice educators, training coordinators, liaisons and field directors. The aim of the Field Educator is to make this knowledge explicit and to share it within the community involved in training social workers.

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Call for Papers

Published October 2011

by Gianna Gifford, MA, MSLIS, Managing Editor

The Field Scholar is the section of the Field Educator devoted to the publication of formal, scholarly articles on theory and research in field education. Field Scholar is issuing a call for theory and research papers on a variety of subjects. These subjects include best practices in field instruction, measures of competencies in field, school-agency collaborations and innovative approaches to challenges in field education. These articles will be reviewed for rigor and relevance by members of a panel of noted field educators from the US and abroad; the list of consulting editors can be found in About Us.

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