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Glassman, U. E. (2016). Finding your way through field work: A social work student’s guide. Washington, DC: Sage Publications, Inc.

Finding Your Way Through Field Work is exactly what the title suggests – a clear and comprehensive explanation of what students can expect from their MSW internships.  Dr. Urania Glassman draws on her years of experience as the director of field education at Yeshiva University, where she has placed thousands of students in social work internships. As an associate field education director myself, I read her examples of student situations and experiences with keen interest since they resonated with the field placement stories I know.  Dr. Glassman’s direct style of communicating with the reader should capture the student’s attention, especially when they see the similarities with their own experience.

I was eager to read this guide because as field educators we are always looking for ways to better prepare and support students in their internships.  This book begins with basic explanations and some general frameworks that are referenced throughout.  The theoretical concepts are described in simple terms so the student can understand how they apply to their learning.  Dr. Glassman also captures different types of students, at the BSW as well as the MSW level, and includes examples of students with a range of experiences prior to beginning their social work education.  There is a light touch and sense of humor to her writing while also underscoring the serious nature of our work – a great balance that should help with the anxiety of a beginner.

As an educator I especially appreciated the examples of process recordings and the subsequent supervisory sessions between students and field instructors. The recordings are used to teach social work skills, values, and knowledge with direct links to the nine competencies in the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards mandated by the Council on Social Work Education.  These vignettes include macro and clinical practice and are especially helpful for students placed in urban settings (maybe less so for those in rural areas).  There are also examples of employer-based placements, how to deal with problems in the placement, and recognition of the tensions for students who also work and have families and thus need to juggle these responsibilities along with their education.  The chapter on self-awareness highlights the transformational nature of social work field education and the importance of paying attention to the student’s personal issues that can impact their practice.

In short, Finding Your Way Through Field Work is an excellent resource and tool for students and field educators.