All Practice Digest articles

Using Field Assignments to Enhance Student Contributions and Program-Setting Relationships

Published May 2020

by Corrisa M. Malat, BSW
James Madison University

Cynthia A. Hunter, MSW
James Madison University

Becky A. Shaw, BSW
Western State Hospital

Introduction

Field directors are challenged to accommodate competing demands from students, administration, and placement agencies (Buck, Bradley, Robb, & Kirzner, 2012). Logistics of commuting, cost, caregiving needs, and needs for flexible scheduling are all common limitations that field directors consider (Bradley & Buck, 2014). As the broker and main point of contact for placements, field directors are also responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with agencies in their community (Bradley & Buck, 2014). With an increase of students entering field and competition from other local colleges, options can be scarce.

Additionally, it is a time-consuming process for field directors to develop new placements, recruit and orient field instructors, and negotiate affiliation agreements (Buck et al., 2012). Maintaining relationships long term reduces field director workload in searching for new placements. The positive effect of student contributions through well-structured field assignments on these working relationships can be easily overlooked.

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Integrated Field and Collaborative Opportunities for MSW Students at Campus Health

Published May 2020

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

Meryl Kanfer, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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

 [Authors’ Note: This paper was supported by grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration: G02HP279900201 and M01HP31370.]

Introduction

A 2018 Annual Report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health on college and university campuses reported a steady increase in the number of college students seeking mental health services (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2019). Yet, nationally and locally, universities are grappling with how to provide needed services despite limited resources (Blake, 2019; Xiao et al., 2017). Given this, an innovative pilot was created for the dual benefit of expanding integrated behavioral health field placements at one School of Social Work (SSW) while also providing more comprehensive integrated services at Campus Health (CH), the health care center for the student population at the flagship campus of a public university located in the southeastern United States. 

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Trauma-Informed Interview Coaching: An Innovative Approach to Achieve Equal Opportunity and Social Justice in Field Education

Published May 2020

by Danielle E. Brown, MSW
University of Southern California

Susan L. Hess, MSW
University of Southern California

Melissa Indera Singh, EdD
University of Southern California

“Poor people, people of color especially, are much more likely to be found in prison than in institutions of higher education.” – Angela Davis*

*From Now on The News with Maria Hinijosa interview with Angela Davis on February 23, 2007. Full interview text available at http://www.pbs.org/now/news/308-transcript.html

Introduction

In 2018, field faculty at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work launched a pilot project called Trauma-Informed Interview Coaching (TIIC). The project’s goals were to support justice-involved MSW students during the field placement process, to decrease failed agency interviews, and to reduce agency replacements. This project is ongoing and data on its outcomes are being collected and evaluated.

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A New Partnership: Transforming the Field Education Landscape – Intersections of Research and Practice in Canadian Social Work Field Education

Published May 2020

by Julie Drolet, PhD
University of Calgary

Introduction

Practicum, also known as field education, is the signature pedagogy for a wide range of professional education programs, especially social work (Ralph, Walker, & Wimmer, 2007; Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Social work is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups, and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being (Canadian Association of Social Workers, n.d.). With approximately 50,000 social workers in Canada, the profession plays a critical role in the delivery of social services in the labor market (Stephenson, Rondeau, Michaud, & Fiddler, 2001). The social work profession and the accrediting and regulatory bodies for social work education recognize the critical importance of practicum in preparing the future social service workforce (Bogo, 2015). Field placements provide real-world practice experience in which knowledge, skills, and values that students learn in the classroom are applied within practice settings under the supervision of a qualified professional (Ralph et al., 2007). Many schools of social work offer a traditional agency-based model of field education in which unpaid, voluntary, one-on-one “tutoring” is provided by professional social workers, or field instructors (Bogo, 2006). Field instructors serve as mentors, teachers, and role models for practicum students by demonstrating the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and ethics required to be a practicing professional through supervised application of practice in the field (Ayala et al., 2018; Barretti, 2007; Bogo, 2006).

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Multi-Layered Supervision: The Role of Team-Based Approaches in Field Education

Published May 2020

by Mary E. Hylton, PhD
Salisbury University

Jill Manit, PhD
Sacred Heart University

Introduction

According to Noble and Irwin (2009), social work supervision balances ethically-informed, competent, and accountable practice with a focus on a learner-centered partnership. As a distinct form of supervision, field instruction focuses on the educational outcomes for students. This focus distinguishes field instruction from staff supervision. While staff supervision focuses heavily on managerial responsibilities such as task coverage, equitable caseloads, and client outcomes, field supervisors are also educators who must balance agency needs with student learning needs. Bogo and McKnight (2006) identify three essential functions of field supervision: 1) the educational function, 2) the supportive function, and 3) the administrative function. The administrative function of field supervision focuses on task assignments and monitoring student performance according to the agency’s practices and policies. By contrast, the educational function emphasizes professional growth, including skill development, and awareness. Finally, the supportive function ensures that the supervisor assists the supervisee in handling stress while gaining appropriate autonomy through encouragement and reassurance. Quality field supervision involves the incorporation of all three functions.

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Extending a Field Program to a Satellite Campus

Published October 2019

by Anita R. Gooding, MSW
Portland State University

Michele Belliveau, PhD
West Chester University
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Introduction

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

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

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

Published October 2019

by Kelly Jay Poole, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Fran Pearson, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Tyreasa Washington, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Yarneccia D. Dyson, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Michael Thull, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

John Rife, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Wayne Moore, PhD
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
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Introduction

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

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

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Voting is Social Work: What Field Educators Need to Know

Published October 2019

by Andrea Munn, MSW Candidate
University of Mississippi

Amy Fisher, JD
University of Mississippi

Beth M. Lewis, DSW
Bryn Mawr College

Kanako Okuda, DSW
Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York

Rebecca L. Sander, PhD
Immediate Past Chair, ACOSA
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Introduction

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

Published May 2019

by Stevara Haley Clark, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University

Christina Remmers, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University
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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.

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

Published May 2019

by Andrea Murray-Lichtman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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

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

Published May 2019

by Stevara Haley Clark, MSW
Virginia Commonwealth University

Mary Secret, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University

Linda A. Gupta, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University

Frank R. Baskind, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
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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.

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Developing an MSW Field Practicum Model in a Forensic Setting

Published October 2018

by Jennifer Frimpong, MSW
California Health Care Facility-Psychiatric Inpatient Program, Stockton

Sevaughn Banks, PhD
California State University-Stanislaus

Kilolo Brodie, PhD
California State University-Stanislaus
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Introduction

This article describes the Graduated Forensic Learning Model (GFLM), a systematized structured process for onboarding advanced Master of Social Work (MSW) students who serve as interns in a forensic inpatient psychiatric program located on a California state prison campus. The California Healthcare Facilities-Psychiatric Inpatient Program (CHCF-PIP) located in Stockton, formerly the Department of State Hospitals-Stockton, is an adult male correctional institution. CHCF-PIP and the MSW program at California State University-Stanislaus partnered to provide enriching educational experiences to MSW students desiring clinical training. The GFLM uses a gradual or progressive learning approach where students are expected to demonstrate an increase in knowledge, skills, and values during their field practicum. The GFLM relates specifically to CHCF-PIP, however, its utility and applicability is transferable to other social work contexts particularly since literature about onboarding students in field placement agencies is so scant.

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From Good to Great: An Innovative Bridge Program Developing Professionalism and Self-Reflection in Social Work Students Entering the Field

Published October 2018

by Darrin E. Wright, PhD
Clark Atlanta University
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Introduction

Professional education lies at the heart of social work and serves as the basis for the field’s commitment to developing professional social workers. A vital part of that commitment is field education. According to the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education. Signature pedagogy is a central form of instruction and learning to socialize students to perform the role of the practitioner (CSWE, 2008, p. 8). Field education serves this specific purpose of linking classroom theory to practice. One of the most pressing challenges in recent years for many undergraduate and graduate programs is the shift in student demographics as it relates to student populations who seek degrees in social work. An increasing number of social work students in recent decades are first-generation college students, who often may lack some of the expected social awareness skills needed to be successful in the field (Toutkoushian, Stollberg, & Slaton, 2018).

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Bridging the Divide Between Practice and Academia: An Integrated Model of Field Education

Published October 2018

by Michael R. Lynch, MSW
The State University of New York at Buffalo

Katie McClain-Meeder, MSW
The State University of New York at Buffalo
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Introduction

Field education is often seen as the vehicle by which theory is integrated with practice. Through field education, students are able to link the traditional classroom curriculum with real-life practice. If field is the place where curriculum meets practice, why do the worlds of practice and academia seem so far apart? Why do field instructors feel disconnected from social work faculty? In this brief article, we will argue that field departments have a unique and exciting opportunity to bridge the worlds of practice and academia and make unique and meaningful connections between these two worlds. Specifically, we will look at the role of field in facilitating student, agency, and faculty participation in field placements with an enhanced curricular focus (ECF).

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Developing Community Among Social Work Field Seminar Students: Lessons Learned from the Online Classroom

Published October 2018

by Jara L. Dillingham, MSW
University of Southern Indiana
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Introduction

As social work programs respond to the needs of today’s students, pedagogical strategies must be examined. Transitioning to online course delivery or online programs can help meet students’ needs; however, it is important to ensure this shift addresses student anxieties and does not overlook the need to develop a sense of community and connection between students in an online classroom. Students express apprehension regarding the internship in general, along with uncertainty related to navigating necessary technology, and the ability to develop relationships with faculty and peers online. The BSW program at the University of Southern Indiana responded to their students’ needs by developing an online synchronous field seminar course. This paper will share information on how the course was developed and structured, as well as tools for managing student apprehension and creating high levels of student engagement and connectivity.

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Integrating Social Justice in Field Education

Published May 2018

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

Andrea Murray-Lichtman, MSW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Overview

Historically, social work practice has occurred within the confines of what can be described as a bidirectional flow of social justice. Along with great strides forward, setbacks occur. Nevertheless, the unrelenting call for social workers to fight for social justice and to educate others for this fight remains the same. A deeply rooted commitment within the Grand Challenges of Social Work stems directly from the profession’s fundamental principle of promoting social justice and equal opportunity for all (Uehara et al., 2013). Schools of social work strive to not only educate students to understand the ways in which privilege, oppression, marginalization, and powerlessness contribute to systematic inequalities, but also to fulfill the profession’s mission by equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to promote social justice (Finn, 2016; Reisch & Garvin, 2016). Whereas classroom instruction can successfully teach the concepts of social justice, translating this theoretical knowledge to practice in real-world settings is an essential component of social work field education (Battle & Hill, 2016). Given the experiential, hands-on nature of the field practicum, field education programs are uniquely positioned to shape students’ self-identities as social work professionals and enhance students’ understanding of social justice work in action. During the field practicum, students gain firsthand experience in applying a social justice lens to their practice of social work through direct interactions with field instructors, client systems, field advisors, and other social work students.
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Assessing for Racial Equity Capacity in Field Placements

Published May 2018

by Courtney McDermott, MSW
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Kira Hudson Banks, PhD
Saint Louis University

Patricia A. Rosenthal, MSW
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Courtney D. Jones, MSW Candidate
University of Missouri-St. Louis
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Introduction

In the last few years, there is increasing awareness that race and racial disparity continue to persist in significant ways in many, if not all, areas of society. This awareness was heightened, in large part, due to police shootings of unarmed African-Americans as well as current political rhetoric. Social workers can be leaders in bridging the racial equity gap in our field and in the larger society. The profession has a history of addressing macro-level issues and understands how systems impact individuals. This manuscript explores one project that has been developed and implemented over the past two academic years in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and that can be used as a model for other programs interested in addressing issues of racial inequity.
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Laying the Foundation for a Competency Based Remediation Process: Lessons Learned

Published May 2018

by Christine Escobar-Sawicki, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Mary Maurer, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Hellen McDonald, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Carol Wilson-Smith, MSW
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Introduction

In 2008, the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) identified field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education. As social work educators, we are charged with providing students the opportunity to learn and to be successful in the field, while also acting as gatekeepers of the social work profession. Currer (2009) suggests that it is critical to find a balance between “allegiance to individual learners” and protecting the profession of social work and its future clients. However, current literature provides little guidance as how to best assist students who are not successfully demonstrating the competencies in their field placements. This paper will discuss how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) School of Social Work Field Education Office developed a remediation process for addressing (and preventing) placement issues and assists students in connecting the competencies with their performance in field.
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Spiraling Organizational Change: A Campus Conversion to Online Programming

Published May 2018

by Ruth Supranovich, MSW
University of Southern California

Ruth Cislowski, MSW
University of Southern California

Jennifer Parga, MSW
University of Southern California
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Introduction

Educational institutions face many social, political, and environmental influences that affect their operations. For example, higher education programs have remained competitive by launching online educational opportunities. As a result, institutions are now able to reach a maximum audience, increasing both accessibility for students and profitability for education providers. Social work has embraced online education in part to respond to the increasing demand for master’s level social workers (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], 2017) and as a way to increase the number of social work professionals in previously underserved rural and remote communities (Cummings, Chaffin & Cockerham, 2015; Reinsmith-Jones, Kibbe, Crayton & Campbell, 2015). As with most businesses, schools of social work must be aware of the external environment and act nimbly if they wish to maximize quality and minimize barriers for students. As social work education relies heavily on the goodwill of community-based agencies to host students for their 900-hour internship requirement (CSWE, 2015), social work administrators need to pay attention to the impact of their own internal organizational changes on external agency partners. Additionally, change in the structure of external agency partners necessitates change in the social work program (Rothwell, Sullivan, Kim, Park, & Donahue, 2015).
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The Summer Summit Model: Maximizing Community Partnerships to Cultivate Policy Practice Field Placements

Published October 2017

by Jill Manit, MSW
University of Nevada, Reno

Mary E. Hylton, PhD
University of Nevada, Reno
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Introduction

While competence in policy practice is a necessary element of generalist social work (Council on Social Work Education, 2015), developing field placements in which students have the opportunity to engage in applied policy practice can be challenging. Nonprofit and public agencies, frequently the sites for student field practicums, are limited in the types of political activities in which they may engage (U.S. Office of Special Counsel, 2005). Furthermore, many of these agencies are not informed as to the nonpartisan policy practice activities in which they can be engaged. Additionally, social work education programs may find it difficult to find qualified field instructors at organizations that do engage in policy practice activities. Therefore, students completing social work practicums frequently miss out on opportunities to engage in policy practice as part of their applied social work education.
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Innovating to Keep Pace: A Ten-Year Model for Group Interprofessional Field Placements

Published October 2017

by Jay Poole, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Fran Pearson, MSW
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

John Rife, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Wayne Moore, PhD
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
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Introduction and Background

Recently, social work field educators were reminded that “the number of students is growing, but the number of quality placements is not keeping pace” (Harriman, 2016, p. 1). With changes in the practice community and the continued growth in social work program enrollment, field education faces pressure to provide high quality placement experiences which meet the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) nine core competencies and prepare students for the real world of contemporary interprofessional social work practice (CSWE, 2008; 2015). CSWE (2008) and Wayne, Bogo, and Raskin (2010) have specified that field education is the “signature pedagogy” of our profession. Bogo (2010; 2015) has noted that field education is the most significant component of the social work curriculum in preparing competent and effective social workers. CSWE (2015) has recognized the need for innovative field instruction programming to meet community needs.
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Expanding Field Placement Possibilities: Considering Public Safety/Service Agencies as Placement Options

Published October 2017

by Rebecca Dickinson, MSW
Doctoral Student
University of Iowa
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Introduction and Background

The profession of social work has a long history of providing services in agencies that do not have a primary social work focus (Dane & Simon, 1991). This is related to the field of social work being so vast that social workers can ultimately be involved in all stages and situations of life. Social work at times has an image problem of sorts due to this vastness, where the general public may not understand what social workers do. At minimum, they may have a very limited view of social workers, such as equating “social work” with “child protection.” The field of social work is as diverse as the interests of social workers, which means that social workers appear in a wide variety of settings involving direct or indirect work with people. Social workers are often the silent soldiers working in the background anywhere that needs, injustices, or crises exist.
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A Case Study of Photovoice as a Critical Reflection Strategy in a Field Seminar

Published October 2017

by Pamela H. Bowers, PhD
Humboldt State University
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Introduction

While Photovoice has been gaining momentum in social work practice, and specifically participatory research methods, it has not been explored as a teaching strategy for critical reflection in the social work discipline. This manuscript seeks to open that discussion by describing the use of Photovoice as a teaching strategy to support student professional identity development and encourage creative critical reflection in a graduate field seminar. A case study of a campus-based MSW field seminar discusses the planning, application, and reflections of implementing this participatory method as a teaching strategy.
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Faith and Field: The Ethical Inclusion of Spirituality within the Pedagogy of Social Work

Published May 2017

by Linda Darrell, PhD
Morgan State University

Thelma Rich, LCSW
Morgan State University
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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

Published May 2017

by Glenn Meuche, MSW
CancerCare
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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

Published May 2017

by Nadine Sunarich, MSW
Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital

Shai Rowan, MSW
Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation
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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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Developing a Faculty-Led Field Practicum: Factors to Consider

Published November 2016

by Anthony J. Hill, PhD
Delaware State University

Fran K. Franklin, PhD
Delaware State University

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

Published November 2016

by Katharine Dill, PhD
Marist College

Lorna Montgomery, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast

Gavin Davidson, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast

Joe Duffy, PhD
Queen’s University Belfast
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Introduction

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

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Virtual Academic Challenges To Real-Time Trauma

Published November 2016

by Susan Hess, MSW
University of Southern California

Melissa Indera Singh, MSW
University of Southern California

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

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

Published November 2016

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

Introduction

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

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Innovating with GRACE: Workforce Development in Geriatric Social Work

Published November 2016

by Sarah Swords, MSW
University of Texas

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

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Utilizing Student/Peer-Facilitators to Create a Dynamic Field Seminar Learning Environment

Published May 2016

by Elizabeth Harbeck Voshel, LMSW, ACSW
University of Michigan

Shoshana Hurand, LMSW

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Introduction: Schools of social work are training grounds for professionals who, on the whole, will continue on to practice in the community, as opposed to residing within “the ivory towers” of academia. In order to support students in bridging the gap between the academy and the practice world, integrative seminars are structured to connect course content to the students’ goals and experiences. The nature of the integrative classroom format enables students to make the connection between the theory of the profession and their practice in the field. As a result, the integrative seminar is the ideal classroom companion to field education.
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Developing a Successful Social Work Practicum in a Private Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Published May 2016

by Sandra Brackenridge, LCSW, BCD
Texas Woman's University

Brittany McPherson, LBSW
Texas Woman's University
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Social workers have worked in veterinary settings in the United States since the early 1980’s. Beginning in 1982, Susan Cohen, DSW directed one of the earliest client support programs at Animal Medical Center in New York City training numerous social work interns. By the early 1990’s, only a handful of helping professionals were employed by schools of veterinary medicine around the country.  Today, the majority of schools of veterinary medicine employ social workers or counselors with other degrees, but their roles in the schools vary.  Some work with bereaved animal owners (clients) exclusively; some only offer counseling for veterinary students, and others teach communication skills to the students.  There are only thirty schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, and few of the schools, even when they employ degreed social workers, offer internship opportunities to students of social work. Some veterinary private practitioners throughout the country, especially those with large or specialty practices, have recognized the value of adding professional social work services to their practice. This unique area of social work demands some specialized training, and social work students hoping to concentrate in the area of veterinary medicine desire more internship opportunities.
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Students Today, Educators Tomorrow: Shaping the Social Work Curriculum to Enhance Field Education

Published October 2015

by Eileen McKee, MSW
University of Toronto

Tammy Muskat, MSW
North York General Hospital

Illana Perlman, MSW, RSW
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto
Adjunct Lecturer: Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto
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The development of competence in the professional practice of social work is a primary objective of all social work programs. Field education is the “signature pedagogy” of the profession (Council on Social Work Education, 2008). It offers students pivotal learning opportunities through which knowledge can be integrated and applied to practice, and competence in practice skills can be developed. Indeed, it has been identified as the most significant component of the social work curriculum in preparing competent, effective, and ethical social workers (Bogo, 2006). However, field education faces a significant challenge in finding supervisors and internships for students. This paper describes the efforts of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto to encourage students to make a commitment to the training of future generations of social workers.

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Changing Systems: Integrating Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in Social Work Practice

Published October 2015

by Jill Russett, PhD
Christopher Newport University
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According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), among persons 17 and older, one in eleven or 8.6% of the population has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality [CBHSQ], 2013). Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive and integrated public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with, and at risk of developing, substance use disorders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2015). The use of screening and brief intervention for alcohol use, specifically SBIRT, has been well established in the literature as a primary means in helping individuals recognize and change unhealthy patterns of use (SAMHSA, 2015). This article will suggest ways that SBIRT training can be integrated into the curriculum of social work classroom and field education.

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Creating an Integrative Model of Education and Support for Field Instructors

Published October 2015

by Beth Massaro, Ed.D
Longwood University

Mary Stebbins, LCSW
Longwood University
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Field education for social work students is one of the most critical components of their training and educational experience. In fact, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has identified field education as the “signature pedagogy” of social work (CSWE, 2008; Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Inherent in the training of students is the expectation that students will receive professional and appropriate supervision and guidance from field instructors (Knight, 2001). It is important for social work programs to provide support and training for all field instructors to ensure the success of the students, retain outstanding field instructors and continue to create high quality practicum experiences (Globerman & Bogo, 2003; Murdock, Ward, Ligon, & Jindani, 2006).

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Thinking Inside the Box: Mining Field Placements within the College Infrastructure

Published October 2015

by Jennifer Meade, PhD
Rhode Island College

Mary McLaughlin, MSW
Rhode Island College

Laura Woods, MSW Candidate
Rhode Island College
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The Council on Social Work Education has referred to the field experience as the “signature pedagogy” of social work education (Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). Traditionally, social work field placements have been located off-campus at community agencies and facilities. However, this traditional arrangement has been challenged on two fronts. Schools of social work have increasingly large enrollments of students, a number of whom have life demands that affect their education, and some who have disabilities. Agencies find it difficult to train interns because of fiscal constraints and concerns about productivity and liability. This article describes the ways in which the Rhode Island College (RIC) School of Social Work has taken a step back and, instead of identifying a “perfect fit” for social work students within various agencies, began to discover where social workers can be matched within existing structures in the college.

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Integrating Research and Practice in Baccalaureate Field Education Through Collaborative Student/Faculty Research

Published October 2015

by Michael J. Lyman, PhD
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Sarah Meisenhelter Strayer, MSW
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Alumni

Virginia Z. Koser, MSW
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Alumni

Stephen Stoeffler, PhD
Kutztown University

Emily Kephart, MSW
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Alumni
Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
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Social work students are expected to learn to be both consumers and creators of research. This article will describe the efforts of the Shippensburg University Department of Social Work and Gerontology BSW program to integrate research and practice in field education. In 2004, a large number of students had their final semester internships at child welfare agencies in the counties surrounding Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Four students also participated in the Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates (CWEB) program, and collaborated with faculty to conduct qualitative and quantitative research at their placement sites. Benefits and dilemmas of the CWEB program are presented.

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The Indispensable Faculty Liaison Within the Signature Pedagogy: the Integrated Field/Classroom Model (IFCM) as an Example

Published April 2015

by Kathleen F. Armenta, MSW
The University of Texas at Austin

Tamera B. Linseisen, MSW
The University of Texas at Austin
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An examination of the social work literature on the topic of the liaison role in field education reveals some discussion with regard to role, function and impact (Bennett & Coe, 1992; Ligon & Ward, 2005; Liley, 2006; Raskin, Wayne, & Bogo, 2008; Wayne, Bogo, & Raskin, 2010). The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) first designated the term ‘liaison’ in their documents (CSWE, 1967), indicating that programs should assign particular faculty members with explicit field responsibilities to “provide liaison between agency supervisors and faculty and have ultimate responsibility for evaluating and grading the students’ learning experiences” (p. 15).

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Healthcare Orientation Program for MSW Interns

Published April 2015

by Noelle Dimitri, MSW
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Nancy Blumberg, MSW
Simmons School of Social Work

Ellen Goodman, MSW
Boston Children's Hospital

Carolyn Masshardt, MSW
Bridgewater State University

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Academic teaching hospitals provide some of the most competitive, challenging and also rewarding internships for MSW students. Patient acuity, increased caseloads and hospital fiscal pressures all shape a demanding work environment where social workers play a pivotal role. Interns are given an opportunity to work with vulnerable, medically complex, and culturally diverse patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings representing different medical and surgical specialty areas. Some interns may work exclusively with veterans while others work with clients receiving psychiatric and domestic violence services within the medical setting. Social work interns are expected to provide a strong clinical presence and to fully participate in patient care and interdisciplinary team collaboration.

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Best Practice Research in Field in Four “Easy” Steps

Published April 2015

by Jennifer Harrison, MSW
Western Michigan University
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Social workers have struggled to eliminate the 20-year science-to-service gap.  Western Michigan University has employed a four-step method for getting started on research in field, which has helped students with efficiently researching best practice in their field placement.  The proposed method includes: the “I wonder” question, the keyword find, the one-hour literature review, and the final research question. This method can get field stakeholders, students and agencies started in implementing and publicizing research on best practices.

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It All Started with a Tweet…Thoughts on Incorporating Twitter into Field Education

Published October 2014

by Laurel Iverson Hitchcock, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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Abstract: The author, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Social Work, shares her experience of assigning social media projects to her social work students, including the use of micro-blogging site Twitter. She shares resources and stories of Twitter in her classroom and seeks to continue the conversation about Twitter in social work through the social media platform.

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Are Students’ Rights Violated in Field Practicums?: A Review of the Fair Labor Standards Act in Social Work Field Education

Published October 2014

by Rachel Slaymaker, LMSW
Abilene Christian University
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Abstract: In recent years, there has been much confusion over whether or not internships violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This article discusses the catalyst leading to the media coverage of internships as a “hot button issue” in higher education. The author distinguishes between traditional internships and the nature of the social work field practicum. The article also outlines the importance of field education programs remaining structured, organized, and well-staffed to provide the significant oversight needed to ensure educational opportunities are afforded to students and to protect students, staff, faculty, and universities from potential litigation.

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Field Instruction in Mandated Reporting Laws for Abuse and Neglect

Published October 2014

by Cynthia H. Dickman, MSW
University of Washington
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Abstract: The excitement social work graduates experience in finding initial employment or paid practice speaks to their confidence in applying social work knowledge, values, and skills toward social justice. However, an area of expertise that may cause anxiety and temper that confidence is graduates’ vague comprehension of legal mandates to report suspected abuse or neglect. It is imperative that schools and colleges of social work assume responsibility for preparing students for this aspect of social service. Students may attempt to fill the gaps in their knowledge with their own biases, in terms of their subjective experiences and culture. Evidence of over-reporting or under-reporting of some ethnic or social groups exposes the slant of professionals’ perceptions and perspectives in reporting. Social work field instruction in this area of practice could contribute to mitigating the impact of bias and privilege in the social work profession, while increasing graduates’ confidence to address a disclosure or observation of abuse or neglect. In order to achieve these goals, the University of Washington School of Social Work included in its introductory course on field education specific instruction on mandated reporting of neglect and abuse.

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Should End-Measures for Every Competency and Practice Behavior Come from Field Practicum Evaluation?

Published April 2014

by Dianna Cooper-Bolinskey, MSW
Indiana State University

Angela M. Napier, PhD
Indiana State University
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Abstract: Field education is recognized as the signature pedagogy in social work education. In this article, we acknowledge the inherent support for using the competencies and practice behaviors set forth by the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) for evaluating student performance as well as social work curriculum. However, we propose challenges to adopting field education ratings from field instructors as one of two means for evaluating the social work curriculum at both the individual and programmatic levels. With the 2015 EPAS currently in draft stages toward adoption in June 2015, this article underscores points of consideration.

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Gimme That Old-time Reflection: Process Recording

Published April 2014

by Emeline Homonoff, PhD
Simmons College
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Process recording is a time-honored vehicle for reflection in schools of social work, especially in the United States (Urdang, 1975). Process recording calls upon interns’ capacity for observation and recall, requiring verbatim reporting of an interview with a client or clients. It also encourages analysis: it begins with a description of the purpose and goals of the intervention, as well as the setting and participants; it allows for a description of the rationale for intervention and the skills utilized; and it ends with impressions, plans for the future, and questions for the student’s supervisors. Most importantly for reflection, the process recording has space for interns to record their thoughts and feelings in a column or columns parallel to the dialogue of the transcript (Fox & Gutheil, 2000; Graybeal & Ruff, 1995; Neuman & Friedman, 1997; Urdang, 1979).
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Field Placements: Are Our Students with Disabilities the Pearls of the School of Social Work?

Published April 2014

by Naomi White, MSW
University of Akron

Sandra Morales, MSW Candidate
University of Akron

Daniel Wright, III, MSW Candidate
University of Akron
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Starting in 2011, the University of Akron School of Social Work has developed internships for social work students within various departments of the University. Ensuring that these internships meet the expectations set forth by the Council on Social Work is challenging in itself. This year, additional complications arose when a student with physical disabilities was placed at the School of Social Work. This paper will describe how the field department and the student collaborated to overcome obstacles and make the internship a success. Narratives are included from the student and from a fellow social work student, who helped him and was helped by him in turn.
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The Affordable Care Act and Social Work Field Education: A Shifting Landscape

Published April 2014

by Kim Kelly Harriman, MSW, LICSW
Simmons College

Carlin Blount, MSW Candidate
Simmons College
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The implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is a critical milestone in healthcare reform, though our country still struggles towards healthcare equality. It follows the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008, which requires that health insurance benefits for mental health conditions are no more restrictive than benefits for medical conditions (“Mental Health Parity,” 2014). This legislation laid a foundation for mental health awareness and parity that is fundamental in the Affordable Care Act. This article describes one school’s exploration of the effects of the ACA – especially “medical homes” – on social work field education.
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A Poetic Appreciation of Social Work Field Instruction

Published October 2013

by Nai Ming Tsang, PhD
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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The following is an address that was delivered by Dr. Nai Ming Tsang, a leading Chinese field educator, to a group of approximately 45 social work field instructors at the Department of Applied Social Sciences (APSS) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. —Editor’s note.

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Inaugurating a Remote Field Review: A Preliminary Report and Reflections

Published October 2013

by Wendy Emory, MSW
Simmons College

Emeline Homonoff, PhD
Simmons College
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Abstract: Simmons School of Social Work inaugurated a remote field review during the spring of 2012 to replace one traditional face-to-face (F2F) field visit. The field education department surveyed its field instructors and liaisons and some students to ascertain their response to this change; this article reports the findings of these surveys.

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The Graduate Field Program and Capstone Evaluation Project

Published October 2013

by Jodi K. Hall, PhD
North Carolina State University

W.J. Casstevens, PhD
North Carolina State University

Marcie Fisher-Borne, PhD
North Carolina State University
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Abstract: This paper describes collaboration between advanced-year MSW students and field agencies of the North Carolina State University Department of Social Work. In an evaluation research course, students work with field instructors to design an evaluation research proposal. During a second course, the students conduct the evaluation and present a final report. This article describes the project, including guidelines for design and implementation of the proposal, protection of client rights through the Institutional Review Board, and facing challenges.

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Culturally Competent Field Education Practice with Guatemalans

Published October 2013

by Steven Granich, DSW
Lock Haven University
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Abstract: Over a million Guatemalans have immigrated to the United States; they are the sixth largest Hispanic group in the country (Motel & Patten, 2012). This article seeks to provide a background for social work students so that they can be culturally competent in engaging with Guatemalan clients. The author examines the violence and poverty that drive Guatemalans to emigrate, as well as the pressures and trauma of immigration into the U.S.A. and the unique strengths of Guatemalan culture, including their traditions and religious beliefs.

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Relational Cultural Theory and Field Education

Published October 2013

by Janice Berry Edwards, PhD
Howard University School of Social Work

Janice M. Davis, MSW
Howard University School of Social Work

Cynthia E. Harris, DHA, MBPA
Howard University School of Social Work
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Abstract: The authors examine the potential uses of Relational Cultural Theory for strengthening the many relationships inherent in field education, pointing to three main elements of Relational Cultural Theory: mutual engagement, mutual empathy, and mutual empowerment. The authors give examples of field education situations in which each of these elements plays a role.

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Comparison of Face-to-Face Vs. Electronic Field Liaison Contacts

Published April 2013

by Fran S. Danis, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Arlington

Debra Woody, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Arlington

Beverly M. Black, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Arlington
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In both the classroom and in field education, the technological revolution has impacted social work education. While electronic resources have expanded opportunities for students, they have also created new challenges for faculty and field instructors with respect to developing effective and efficient ways of conducting the basic tasks of field education. This article reports on the efforts of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington to compare traditional face-to face (F2F) to nontraditional electronic-based field liaison contacts.
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Home Visiting in the Internship

Published April 2013

by Naomi White, MSW
The University of Akron
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Historically, social workers and other helping professionals, such as visiting nurses, have intervened on behalf of individuals, families, and communities. Often, these interventions take place in a client’s home. Wasik and Bryant describe home visiting as “the process by which a professional or paraprofessional provides help to a family in their own home. This help focuses on social, emotional, cognitive, educational, and/or health needs & often takes place over an extended period of time” (2001, p. 1). Traditionally, home visits focused on three overarching areas: poverty, infant and child care, and illness (Wasik & Bryant, 2001, p. 1). In the last decade, home visiting has also become a central feature of services such as home-based behavioral health and family wrap-around programs. Home visitors seek to provide child care information, health care, knowledge of community resources, and emotional support. Many social work internships include home visits, but interns are often confused and worried about what this means. Read more »


Providing Clinical Service to Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Published April 2013

by Rebecca Mirick, PhD
Simmons School of Social Work

Ruth Dean, PhD
Simmons School of Social Work
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Work with unaccompanied homeless youth is an increasing focus of social work practice. It is estimated that there are between 204,000 and 406,000 unaccompanied homeless youth (ages 12 to 24) in the United States (Abel, 2010; Homeless Research Institute, 2012). These youth have high rates of substance abuse, suicide (Barczyk & Thompson, 2008), and trauma, both in their homes of origin (Kurtz, Kurtz, & Jarvis, 1991; Rew, 2001; Slesnick, Kang, & Aukward, 2008), and on the streets (Fisher, Florsheim, & Sheetz, 2005). With the recent economic recession, their numbers have increased and their needs have become more urgent than ever (Kidd & Scrimenti, 2004; Levenson, 2011). Work with this population is extremely challenging due to the risks of life on the streets, the transiency and unpredictability of being homeless, and the dangerous behaviors in which youth engage. What do social work interns need as they are trained to work with unaccompanied homeless youth? A recent qualitative study of workers serving homeless youth (Mirick & Dean, 2010) indicates several areas where field educators can support interns in work with these clients.

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An Ethical Dilemma in Field Education

Published April 2013

by Betty Surbeck, PhD
West Chester University
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The professional socialization of social workers involves the process of acquiring knowledge and skills, values, attitudes, and professional identity (Miller, 2010). As a field liaison for graduate social work students, one of my responsibilities was to link field placement experiences with classroom work. I accomplished this with seminars, site visits, and review of written agreements, reflections, and evaluations. Barretti (2004) notes that virtually everything faculty and field instructors do and say profoundly influences their students. Professional competencies that lead to professional socialization involve a process where students begin to utilize professional language in their construction of events, and to implement actions to address ethical issues and dilemmas (Dolgoff, Lowenberg, & Harrington, 2009; Holosko & Skinner, 2009; Horner & Kelly, 2007; Manning, 1997). In this paper, I describe an ethical dilemma with respect to research at a field placement. I then analyze the dilemma, and finally discuss how an intern can work toward promoting client self-determination and social justice with respect to a complex dilemma.

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Cultural Empathy

Published October 2012

by Betty Garcia, PhD
California State University, Fresno

Yuhwa Eva Lu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, New York University, Silver School of Social Work

Katherine Maurer, PhD candidate
New York University, Silver School of Social Work
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The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) designates field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education in its Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS, 2008). The EPAS present a competency-based approach to social work education with measurable outcomes to evaluate the integration of knowledge and practice skills. Across many professions, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been used for several decades in a variety of settings as an assessment tool for educators to assess gaps between clinical instruction, to gather data for curriculum changes, and to identify the effectiveness of teachers and trainers (Ali et al., 1999; Anderson et al., 1991; Eliot et al., 1994; Regehr, Freeman, Hodges, & Russell, 1999; Reznick et al., 1998; Sloan et al., 1997; Warf, Donnelly, Schwartz, & Sloan, 1999). In addition, the OSCE can help to improve student confidence and to predict educational outcomes (Ytterbert et al., 1998).

In response to the lack of reliable measures of observed practice, several researchers (Bogo, 2010; Lu, Miller, & Chen, 2002) have adapted the Objective Structured Clinical Observation (OSCE) for application to social work in establishing reliable and concrete criteria for evaluating students’ actual practice performance and implementation of core skills (Bogo, Regehr, Logie, Katz, Mylopoulos, & Regehr, 2011)

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Promoting Leadership Learning in Clinical Field Education

Published October 2012

by Elaine S. Mittell, MSW
Simmons School of Social Work
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For the past fourteen years, Simmons School of Social Work students have had the opportunity to build leadership skills through participation in the Urban Leadership Certificate Program (ULP).  The ULP is a unique initiative that aims to empower social workers as leaders who can promote change on a broader level while they are intervening to assist individuals, families, and groups.  One major component of ULP instruction is the Urban Leadership Project, an assignment that requires students to develop and carry out a plan to address a service delivery obstacle in their Advanced Year clinical internship.  The Urban Leadership Project provides students with a challenging and rich learning experience. Their leadership learning both parallels and enhances the development of more traditional clinical practice skills.  This article will provide an overview of the ULP, describe the Project assignment, and discuss field educators’ potential impact on students’ leadership learning.
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Promise and Price of Innovation

Published October 2012

by Jerry Jo M. Gilham, PhD
Associate Professor, Franciscan University of Steubenville
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The primacy of field education in social work education is well established (Kissman & Van Tran, 1990; Knight, 1996; Savaya, Neta, Dorit, & Geron, 2003; Strom, K., 1991). This is clearly evidenced by the recent naming of field education as the “signature pedagogy” by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Since CSWE began accrediting social work programs, evidence indicates that students report field practicum as the most important course in the curriculum (Briggs, 1977; Roberts, 1973; Savaya, Neta, Dorit, & Geron, 2003; Skolnik, 1988).

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Psychodrama Preparation for Internship

Published October 2012

by Monit Cheung, PhD
Professor, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston

Kim Alzate
Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston

Peter Viet Nguyen, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University
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Psychodrama is a psychotherapeutic technique that aims to guide patients in expressing their life experiences through dramatic enactments. It is a clinical technique that can also enhance clinical skill learning. According to Avrahami (2003), psychodrama focuses on a “protagonist,” or drama character, to explore life issues, conflicts, unfinished business, and maladaptive behaviors in front of a group of learners or patients. Psychodrama has been shown to be successful because it is action-oriented (Dayton & Nicholas, 2009) and offers discussions of each session between the therapist and the protagonist (played by a client) (Avrahami, 2003; Drakulic, 2010). Jenkyns (2008) suggests that psychodrama can be used as a supervisory tool, as it is a “projective work” approach that encourages professionals to act or observe the enactment of life situations relevant to clients (p. 99).  Hinkle (2008) calls this a “parallel learning” process in that a counseling professional learns through the enactment group and appreciates learning from the client’s perspective (p. 401). This article illustrates the experiential use of psychodrama techniques to provide internship orientation and its educational impact on an MSW intern [1]. We analyzed the intern’s notes and the supervisor’s responses for evidence that using psychodrama could provide interns the means to conduct self-reflective learning to prepare them for placement.

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Millenials in Social Work Field Education

Published October 2012

by Lisa L. Moore, MSW
Clinical Assistant Professor, Boston University
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Over the past few years, Generation Y, also called “Millennials,” has been of great interest to individuals and organizations. Many social work students come from this generation. In the United States, Canada, and many other countries, Millennials are considered to be those who were born between 1980 and 1996 (Howe & Strauss, 2000). The dramatic changes in technology, education, and forms of connection, combined with the distinct world events particular to this generation, have left preceding generations of social work educators striving to understand what this may mean in the context of social work education.  I have often heard the following comments when I ask colleagues to describe how they experience young adults: “They are entitled; they want to be given leadership positions without earning them; they can’t get off their cell phones and computers; and they are disconnected, sheltered, and checked out.” Social work literature focused on shaping a profile of the “Millennial experience” can help social work educators further our thinking

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The Anatomy of an Internship

Published April 2012

by Karen Gall, LMSW
Victoria Meyring, LMSW
Division of Primary Care
Children's Hospital of Michigan
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At the heart of every MSW internship is a sincere desire to contribute to the future excellence of our profession. An internship that provides a rich and supportive learning environment is most beneficial. At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, we have aspired to create a well-considered placement process and a multi-layered internship experience. Our design gives interns the benefit of a primary assignment, allowing for mastery; a secondary experience set, allowing for exposure to multiple practice environments; and a series of monthly intern meetings, offering education and support. The experience culminates with practice interviews and program evaluation.

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Conducting Macro-level Work in a Micro-focused Profession

Published April 2012

by Kathleen LaTosch, MSW
Special Projects Consultant
Affirmations
Ferndale, MI

Kara Jones, BSW
Marygrove College
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Social work students who are interested in macro-level work face unique challenges in applying social work’s educational objectives to their field placement. Macro-level social work addresses systems that govern, impact and sometimes control our lives; it looks at an entire community as the client, identifies key areas for change, and works with community members towards solving those problems. We are concerned that few social workers are formally trained in macro-level work; this includes the vast majority of existing practitioners – both social work faculty and the social workers supervising students at field placements. The language of the core competencies specified by the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy (EPAS) tends to concentrate on the micro-level social worker: “evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals”; “collect, organize and interpret client data”; “assess client strengths and limitations”; “develop mutually agreed-on interventions”; “help clients resolve problems,” etc. This language suggests that practice with individuals or family-client-systems is given higher priority than macro practice. Translating core competencies into macro-level practice objectives that can be measured and evaluated is not always easy, and takes considerable discussion on the part of the field supervisor, the student and the field instructor. How would this be applied, for example, to a student who wanted to learn how to change organizational culture to better serve constituents?

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Online Supervision of Field Education

Published April 2012

by Valerie L. Leyva, PhD
Assistant Professor and Field Education Coordinator
California State University, Stanislaus
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Social work degree programs have many reasons for adopting internet technology to support classroom and field education. Many social work programs draw students from large geographical areas. Traveling to campus from remote locations places significant economic burden on many students, especially in an era of shrinking incomes and increased transportation costs. Offering online degree programs enables these geographically isolated students to remain in home communities for their social work education, and often results in a more comprehensive regional distribution of social work professionals (Ives & Aitken, 2008). Other programs have developed online MSW and BSW degrees as an alternative to the traditional academic schedule, particularly for students already working in the profession. In some communities, proprietary universities reach out to these students, offering online degree programs that compete with those located in state-supported universities. In many of these markets, state-supported and private university-based MSW and BSW programs are pressured to develop online degree programs in order to remain competitive, relevant, or simply to keep their doors open.

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Motivational Interviewing and Field Instruction: The FRAMES model

Published April 2012

by Hugo Kamya, PhD
Professor
Simmons School of Social Work
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Motivational interviewing is defined as a “client-centered, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence” (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). In supervision of staff, the ultimate goal is to improve an organization’s efficiency by increasing productivity, decreasing employee stress, vicarious trauma and burnout, and reducing clinical negligence and malpractice. In supervision of interns, the major focus is on meeting the intern’s learning needs and on developing competent practitioners. Motivational interviewing in supervision maximizes focus and positive change by developing action plans and addressing ambivalence toward change. Motivational interviewing uses a guide toward change called FRAMES; the acronym stands for Feedback, Responsibility, Advice, Menu Options, Empathy and Self-Efficacy.

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Is Field Placement Ready for Bilingual Students?

Published April 2012

by Cynthia Hunter, MSW
Director of Field Placement
James Madison University
Department of Social Work

Alicia Horst, Mdiv.
Executive Director
New Bridges Immigrant Resource Center
and Field Instructor
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Students with second-language skills are sought after in a variety of field education settings, from agencies whose clients have limited English proficiency (LEP) to agencies which serve LEP clients only occasionally. Potential contributions of bilingual students are recognized on multiple levels. As a profession, social work promotes cultural competency and supports second-language proficiency as one way of increasing access to services for clients. On a community level, these students will soon become social workers with the ability to reach out to underserved populations. For agencies, the contributions of social work students with foreign language skills can facilitate work with a wider variety of LEP clients. For social work programs, students working with LEP populations bring firsthand knowledge of non-English-speakers’ experiences, especially regarding the issue of immigration, into field seminars and practice classes.

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Preparing to Serve Those Who Served Us

Published April 2012

by Katherine Selber
Nancy Feyl Chavkin
School of Social Work
Texas State Univeristy - San Marcos
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With the passage of the Post- 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, commonly known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, military personnel and veterans are enrolling at an unprecedented rate in institutions of higher education. This influx is creating a new generation of veterans who are transitioning from combat to classroom (Selber, 2012). Just as the wave of veterans who took advantage of the first GI Bill after World War II changed the face of higher education, universities today are beginning to understand the need to address the impact of the growing number of veterans who are accessing their educational benefits (Herrmann, Hopkins, Wilson, & Allen, 2009). Universities across the nation are reporting increases in enrollment of veterans by as much as 200% annually (Herrmann, et al., 2009). Over 2.2 million veterans have served in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and have now returned home, which has contributed to this increased enrollment (Veterans for Common Sense, 2011). With projected troop draw-downs in theatre, and reductions in forces across services due to budget limitations, universities should expect the influx of veterans to continue. Because this population of new students is supported by financial aid, universities may be welcoming these new students and engaging in active recruitment.

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Student Mental Health and Field Education

Published April 2012

by Mary Dallas Allen
Kathi Trawver
University of Alaska Anchorage
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Over the years, our School of Social Work has had a number of students who unexpectedly shared serious mental health challenges that included suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, substance use, and trauma histories. As social work educators, we were concerned with how these experiences were contributing to students’ challenges with attending class and practicum, completing course work and succeeding in practicum settings. We struggled with how to balance our professional roles and boundaries, our concerns for the students’ privacy and safety, and our responsibilities to other students, field agencies, and current and future social work clients. Here, we review articles about the prevalence of students with mental health challenges in higher education, explore the challenges that both students and field educators experience when addressing mental health issues in the practicum setting, and discuss implications for social work education. This article represents one school’s response; it is only a brief introduction into this very complex issue, but we hope that it will serve as a springboard for further discussions and empirical assessment.

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Experiential Learning in Preparation for Field Placement

Published October 2011

by Yolanda Meade Byrd, MSW, LCSW
Assistant Professor of Social Work
Director of Field Placement
Winston Salem State University


Nicola Davis Bivens, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminology
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Johnson C. Smith University
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As Aristotle said, “The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them.” Prior to entering placement, social work students often experience anxiety about effectively dealing with problems and challenges in field (Warren, 2005).  Further, students may not have the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected and needed in field, if these skills are not developed through other courses within the curriculum (Alex-Assensoh & Ryan, 2008).  Engagement exercises are effective strategies to create experiential opportunities for students to learn necessary skills prior to the field experience.

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Placements in Social Justice Education

Published October 2011

by Adrienne Dessel, PhD
Associate Co-Director
University of Michigan

Susan Wiant Crabb, MS, MSW
Field Educator/Lecturer
University of Michigan
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As the retrenchment of resources for social services undermines the ability of agencies to offer placement to social work interns, the development of new placements is a major concern of field educators. Field sites integrating micro and macro social work practice are sorely lacking (Carey & McArdle, 2011). The University of Michigan School of  Social Work has spearheaded a number of innovative approaches to field placement. The School’s Office of Field Instruction places over 300 students each year. Students are placed according to their practice method (Interpersonal Practice, Community Organization, Management of Human Services, and Social Policy and Evaluation) and practice area (Health, Mental Health, Communities and Social Systems, Children, Youth in Families and Society, and Aging in Families and Society). The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) at the University of Michigan has served as an effective placement for social work interns from a variety of practice methods and practice areas.

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Inauguration of Simmons School of Social Work Trauma Training Project

Published October 2011

by Wendy Emory, MSW
Assistant Professor
Simmons School of Social Work
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Research findings suggest that one in four children in the United States are exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event by age sixteen; and, many experience multiple or repeated traumas (Costello, Erkanli, Frank & Angold, 2002).  Given the prevalence of childhood trauma, social work students need to learn effective treatment interventions for working with children and families impacted by trauma.  In 2010, Simmons School of Social Work joined a collaborative effort between Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and Hunter College School of Social Work to “build workforce capacity by increasing the ability of schools of social work to provide trauma-informed education and training” (Katz, 2010).

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MSW Student Field Readiness: “Boot Camp”

Published October 2011

by Christine A. Ford, MSW
Director of Field Education
California State University, Fullerton
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The California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) MSW Program, one of seven MSW programs in the greater Los Angeles area, began in the fall of 2007.  One of the new Field Director’s first goals was to invite seasoned field instructors to form a Field Advisory Committee (FAC).  The FAC began to meet monthly, to elect officers, draft bylaws, and discuss what their role would be within the CSUF MSW program.  These discussions revealed the feeling on the part of field instructors that the new generation of MSW students was younger than in the past, had less “life experience,” and thus required more training time on the part of agencies to prepare them to deliver services.  Agencies expected students to be more knowledgeable about mandated reporting laws, social work ethics, and confidentiality. They also thought that students lacked understanding of how to use supervision and adopt a professional attitude.

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Students and Field Instructors in Ongoing Supervision Groups

Published October 2011

by Laura Gerson, MSW
Jennifer Meyerhardt, MSW
Marion Ross, MSW
Amy Sommer, MSW

Center for Early Relationship Support
Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston
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Students’ participation in ongoing supervision groups made up of agency staff and/or volunteers is likely to be an increasing phenomenon as stretched resources make group supervision more common. Including students in ongoing groups presents benefits and risks to field instructors and students, beyond those that are associated with the provision of individual student supervision or supervision of students in student-focused groups.

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The Reflecting Team in Supervision of Social Work Interns

Published October 2011

by Ethan G. Harris, LICSW
Director of Family Therapy
Programs for People
Framingham, Massachusetts
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The Reflecting Team is a process by which a team of family therapists can share their reflections with a family being interviewed by other therapists. The comments build on the reflections of other team members. The reflections are not meant to be pronouncements; they are neither decisive nor instructive. They assume a tentative tone of wondering–of possibilities rather than prescriptions. Since all ideas are valued, what the family hears are multiple perspectives rather than a search for the right solution. At the conclusion of the reflections, family members are invited to comment on what they have heard, and the session is ended. At Programs for People, a day program in Framingham, Massachusetts, the “reflecting team” is an integral part not only of therapy but also of social work interns’ education at the program.

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Readiness for Field: What Do Field Instructors Think?

Published October 2011

by Dezette Johnson, PhD
Assistant Professor
Johnson C. Smith University
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Faculty members at the undergraduate social work department at Johnson C. Smith University were concerned about the readiness of their students for field placements. Students are assigned to a block placement in the spring semester of their senior year. Internships are in a variety of agencies such as schools, child welfare services, mental health and substance abuse programs, and health clinics. Field instructors from these internships were surveyed using the Readiness Skill Survey, adapted for social work from a study of law students’ readiness for externship and clinical experience (Young & Blanco, 2007).

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In Defense of Process

Published October 2011

by Esther Urdang, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor
Smith College School of Social Work
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The social work field is currently focused on goal achievement, competence and evidence-based practice. We must not underestimate the importance of process. Becoming a social worker, being a field instructor and developing a collaborative relationship in supervision, even evaluation and gate-keeping—all of these are a process.

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Field Placement Disruptions: The CIA Approach

Published October 2011

by Naomi Lynch White, MSW
Field Coordinator, Assistant Professor
The University of Akron

Maria Spence, PhD
Assistant Professor
The University of Akron

Timothy McCarragher, PhD
Director, Associate Professor
The University of Akron
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The placement process involves thoughtful collaboration between field departments and affiliated agencies; students are offered thorough orientation and a careful matching process including interviews with field faculty, as needed, and with the selected agency. Nevertheless, field placement disruptions–when a student’s placement ends for an unexpected or unplanned reason–are inevitable in field education. Disruptions in field placements should be based on objective criteria: the field department’s learning plan and evaluation forms reflect the required competencies, and the agency’s Human Resources offices specify criteria for skills and behaviors in professional practice. Disruptions are also a process requiring careful reflection. At the University of Akron, we developed the CIA process to help address field placement disruptions: Clarifying the various aspects of the problem, assessing the Impact on student, field instructor and agency, and attending to the Affective aspects of the process.

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