All Volume 9.1 | Spring 2019

An Anti-Oppressive Model for International Practicums

Download a PDF of this article

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
Read more »


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.
Read more »


Comprehensive Training for Field Liaisons: A Necessity for Evaluating Student Performance

Download a PDF of this article

Introduction

Field education provides students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and to focus on practitioner skill development, with the liaison being the lynchpin in the student’s learning (Patrick & Sturgis, 2011). The 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) does not explicitly provide expectations for training field liaisons. EPAS 2.2.7 should be expanded to provide guidance on the minimum level of training that should be provided to field liaisons to “evaluat[e] student learning and field setting effectiveness congruent with the social work competencies” (Council on Social Work Education, 2015, p. 13). A standard level of training establishes collective expectations for achievement and addresses equity in preparedness for social work practice.

Read more »


Advancing Social Justice in Field Settings: What Social Work Can Learn from Allied Health Professions

Download a PDF of this article

Overview

The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (2019) has described the Grand Challenges for Social Work as representing “a dynamic social agenda, focused on improving individual and family well-being, strengthening the social fabric, and helping create a more just society” (para. 1). To meet the Grand Challenges, the social work profession must critically analyze field education programs to ensure that students are receiving training that meets the core values of promoting social justice and social change. Critics of the current model of agency-based field placements encourage social work educators to foster students’ commitment to promoting social justice by thinking outside the existing structure of field education programs (Dominelli, 1996; George, Silver, & Preston, 2013; Preston, George, & Silver, 2014). Moreover, prodding field education programs to evolve has become essential given the numerous service delivery models that are shifting to an interdisciplinary team approach. Therefore, hastening changes in field education models is critical to ensuring social work students are well prepared to apply a team approach to addressing the problems faced by clients.

Read more »


Field Instructor Perspectives on Challenging Behaviors in Social Work Practicum

Download a PDF of this article

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
Read more »


Engaging Field Instructors as Standardized Patients in Social Work Education

Download a PDF of this article

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

Read more »


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

Download a PDF of this article

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

Read more »


Achieving Field Education Competence through an Integrative Syllabus: Bringing the Field to Class

Download a PDF of this article

Introduction

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), in its Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs, has designated field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education. As the signature pedagogy, field education provides the environment and platform in which students integrate the concepts and frameworks learned in the classroom in a practice setting (CSWE, 2015). This paper will outline the current models for integrating the field education practicum experience with course work. The authors will then propose and outline an aspirational model with an integrative common syllabus as the core connection between the core curriculum areas of policy, research, practice, social justice, and theory.

Read more »


Deliberate Practice: A Framework for Enhancing Competence in Field Education

Download a PDF of this article

Introduction

This literature review explores the concept of deliberate practice and its intersection with social work field education. The concept of deliberate practice is an emerging framework that shows promise in understanding the complexity of learning within field placement settings. Leveraging the tenets of deliberate practice, the field supervisor encourages and amplifies student learning through intentional, goal-oriented supervision and learning. This focused learning is achieved through the provision of balanced feedback that seeks to shape and improve an individual’s mastery of complex skills over time (Ericsson, 2004, 2006; Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Römer, 1993; Ericsson, Roring, & Nandagopal, 2007). While not exhaustive in nature, this brief review underscores the emerging tenets of deliberate practice and links these ideas to the complexity of social work field education.

Read more »


In Memoriam: Judith Perlstein

Download a PDF of this article

[Editor’s Note: Judith Perlstein, MSW served as the Assistant Director of Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work from 1993–2018. Prior to working at BUSSW, she was the director of training at the Somerville Mental Health Clinic for many years. She was a 1974 alumna of the Smith College School for Social Work. This Kudos tribute is written by Trudy Zimmerman, Assistant Dean of Field Education at Boston University School of Social Work. Trudy’s testimony is a reflection on the power of relationships and how they are sustained in the complexity of the work we do as field educators.]

Read more »


A Conversation on Creating Trans-Affirming Social Work Field Placements

Download a PDF of this article

[Editor’s Note: This issue’s Conversation features an interview by Diane Zipoli, MSW, Assistant Director of Field Education at Simmons University School of Social Work, with two colleagues and a current student from the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Rebecca Brigham, MSW, Assistant Dean of Field Education; Robin Sansing, MSW, Field Faculty; and Raye Dooley, MPH, MSW Candidate (2019). The exchange is about an online training they developed on Trans-Affirming Field Placements that can be accessed at https://ssw.unc.edu/sswevents/online. In order to take the course, individuals must be registered on this site and create a username and password. Once registered, click on the Field Education tab to view the course. After each module, participants will be asked to complete a short evaluation. Once all evaluations are completed, the participant will receive a certificate of completion documenting contact hours.]

Read more »


Guest Editorial: Engaging in Policy Practice, the Heart of Our Profession

[Editor’s Note: This issue’s editorial is from Assistant Director of Field Education at Simmons University School of Social Work and Field Educator editorial staff member Suzanne Hecker, MSW, LICSW.]

We entered into 2019 with a partial and lengthy government shutdown that forced significant consequences on those furloughed and unpaid federal workers, as well as on the services our communities utilize that are impacted by federal funding, such as housing, food support, legal matters, and health care.

What we learn about in the news or from those clients and agencies we interact with is a daily reminder of the fragility of policy. Working within these precarious spaces between policy and people is at the heart of social work. The interconnectedness of federal, state, and local policy can create ripple effects that are immediate and, at times, catastrophic to our agencies, our profession, and those we serve.

Read more »