All Volume 7.1 | Spring 2017

A Tribute to Carolyn du Bois

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Field education trailblazer Carolyn du Bois retired from her role as Director of Field Work at Smith College School for Social Work (SCSSW) this past January. Carolyn’s tenure at SCSSW lasted over 30 years, most of which was spent as the Director. She was indeed one of the longest serving Field Directors in New England, a leader in NECON, and was known for her tenacious belief in the centrality of field education in professional clinical social work training. Over the span of three decades, Carolyn expanded Smith’s national field program and oversaw many significant changes in response to a growing program, changing times, and feedback. She trained and supervised a cadre of faculty field advisors and worked diligently with agency directors of training and supervisors to create high quality internships so students would receive outstanding professional training that reflected the needs of clients across the country. Carolyn was instrumental in creating the very successful Supervision Certificate Program due to her commitment to supervision training and concern that social work graduates were not getting sufficient clinical supervision post-graduation.
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Book Review – The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals

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Grise-Owens, E., Miller, J., & Eaves, M. (2016). The A-to-Z self-care handbook for social workers and other helping professionals. Harrisburg, PA: The New Social Worker Press.

The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals is a practical and easy-to-read guide for incorporating self-care techniques into your daily life. The book starts by making the argument that self-care is both a personal imperative as well as an ethical imperative as helping professionals.
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Field Education Literature Review: Volume 1

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Introduction

This literature review is the first in a series that will be published in each issue of the Field Educator Journal on topics related to field instruction. The reviews will highlight key components of practice, including reflective models of supervision and creating safe learning opportunities for students. This first review provides a brief overview of field education. Future special-interest topics will include: Indigenous issues, anti-oppressive practice, reflective practice, critical thinking, evidence-informed practice, and the professional development needs of field instructors.
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Faith and Field: The Ethical Inclusion of Spirituality within the Pedagogy of Social Work

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This article discusses the ethical inclusion of spirituality within the pedagogy of social work education. Field internships become the opportunity for social work students to put into practice the theories and knowledge they have obtained within the classroom. The inclusion of spirituality as a concept according to the Council on Social Work Education is not only a demonstration of one’s cultural competence, but a part of one’s ethical responsibility. Teaching students to complete a thorough bio-psychosocial-spiritual assessment then becomes an integral component of the social work educational experience, which would enhance the student’s ability to fully engage their clients.
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An Uninvited Guest: Addressing Students’ Death Anxiety in Oncology Social Work Field Placements

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Social work student internships are an indispensable ingredient in the formation of students’ professional identity. Field placements present a wide breadth of challenges that afford students fertile ground to refine their clinical skills of active listening, engagement, and relationship. The issues that are addressed by students specializing in psychosocial oncology and end-of-life care are unique. Students in these field placements are not only confronted by their clients’ dying and death, but forced simultaneously to reconcile themselves to their own mortality as well.
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Social Work Simulation Education in the Field

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Introduction

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s (Holland Bloorview’s) innovative Social Work Simulation Education Program uses trained actors in simulated scenarios to enhance the acquisition of social work skills and competencies and engage students in higher level learning. Simulation is described as “a pedagogy using a real world problem in a realistic environment to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and learning” (Nimmagadda & Murphy, 2014, p. 540). Social work simulations enable students to learn how to integrate social work theory, knowledge, skills and values into practice. Use of this pedagogy in the field provides students with opportunities to practice clinical skills and actively engage in reflective practice activities so that they feel more confident and competent as they begin to provide services to clients. It also promotes learning about the organization’s programs and services as well as professional practice standards and ethics.
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Enhancing Partnerships with Field Instructors: Identifying Effective Retention Strategies

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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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A Conversation with Trudy Zimmerman

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[Editor’s note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Suzanne Sankar, MSW, Field Educator’s Executive Editor, with Trudy Zimmerman, MSW, the Assistant Dean for Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work. Trudy discusses BUSSW’s innovative Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative, which is one of many initiatives funded in 2016-2017 by the Council on Social Work Education through support from the Fund for Social Policy Education and the Casey Family Programs. The aim of the funding is to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes in policy practice in field education on a national level.]

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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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The Emperor’s New Clothes: Tale or Prophecy?

The Emperor’s New Clothes1 by Hans Christian Andersen is a favorite childhood tale that now bears an uncanny resemblance to the world we inhabit. Its wisdom provides a compass for all social workers in these turbulent times, guiding us back to the core values of our profession. It is a parable that transcends politics and gets to the heart of a value (and virtue) that must be central to all we do and all we teach: the truth.
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Field Practicum Supervisor Perspectives About Social Work Licensing: An Exploratory Study

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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