The student is undertaking a research focused field placement. Their primary task has been conducting interviews with the research participants. During supervision meetings, the student has been able to reflect on the ethical principles underpinning their interview practice. For example, that to be in a position to give informed consent the participant was provided with written information about the research study was given the opportunity to ask question prior to participating and the option of withdrawing from the research. The student has also been able to critically discuss the relationship between the ethical requirements of human research ethics committees (for example that participants be provided with written information about the research) and relevant sections of the AASW Code of Ethics
The student is undertaking a direct practice focused placement in a domestic violence agency. As part of the placement, they have been asked to undertake a review of the literature on working with victims of domestic violence who also experience mental health issues. The student has selected an article about an empirical research study and during supervision has been able to discuss the key ethical issues the researchers would have needed to address in both conducting the research and reporting the findings.
The student’s primary task has been conducting interviews with research participants and has had some involvement with the preliminary analysis of the interview data. After providing feedback on a pilot interview conducted by the student, the field educator asks the student to listen to one of their first interviews and focusing on the interviewer to provide a short written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the interview. The field educator also listens to the interview and during supervision; they discuss their respective assessments, including areas of agreement and disagreement. Towards the end of the placement, the student is asked to transcribe another interview and provide the field educator with the transcript and e thematic analysis of the interview.
The student’s field placement is in a rural youth service. The primary research task has been to produce a set of researchable questions on the issue of young people and sexual assault prevention, which the agency plans to use as the basis of a grant submission. The student initially met with the practitioners to understand the practice context of the issue and then undertook a review of the literature to identify key themes and gaps and points of disagreement. The student with input from the practitioners developed a set of researchable questions based on the literature and the practice context of the agency.
The student produced a document consisting of a succinct overview of practice context of the agency, the review of the literature and the research questions devised. It is clear from the document that the questions flow logically from the literature reviewed and addresses the practice context of the agency.
This student is undertaking their field education in a family support agency in which direct practice is the primary focus of the placement. Though the student’s main task is casework, they have also been asked to undertake a review of the literature on strengths based approaches in this field of practice. In consultation with the practitioners, the student has narrowed the focus of the topic and devised a series of questions to guide the literature review. These questions include, definitions of the term ‘strengths based’, the history of this approach, the efficacy of strengths based models, contested issues, gaps in the literature and the primary discipline involved in research in this approach to practice.
The student has been asked to produce a document of no more than 2,000 words, which clearly addresses the research questions devised. In addition, the student has been asked to provide short verbal progress updates at the fortnightly team meetings.
During the process of conducting the literature, review the field educator and student have been discussing the issue of evidence-based practice, during supervision meetings. The field educator had provided the student with relevant readings on the issue of evidence based practice in social work (or perhaps asked the student to locate relevant readings) and asked them to consider the pros and cons of this approach, in the context of the practice issue they are currently researching. During supervision, the student has been able to articulate their position on evidence based social work using the issue of ‘strengths based’ approaches to illustrate their answer.
Social Work Practice Learning in a Non Government Adolescent Mental Health Context
A final year student will focus on direct practice with a small component of indirect work. The direct practice is primarily case management in a medically focused multi-disciplinary team. The student is expected to engage quickly in the supervisory processes in order to develop independent assessment and intervention skills. In addition the student will also be working towards a project to identity service gasp and t provide some education sessions for the multi0dcpliary team about the social work role in organisational change. Throughout the placement the student will be expected to demonstrate high level interpersonal and communication skills.
Supervision is being provided by an onsite psychologist with a university appointed external social work supervisor meeting weekly with the student. One of the external supervisors core task will be developing the students learning in relation to social work ethics and in relation to social work practice standards.
In this case scenario both supervisors and the students could explore elements of the following design frameworks to assist in developing learning strategies and assessing the relevant practice standards for:
Team work, Supervision, Assessment skills, Organisational change and development, Interpersonal and communication skills and Ethics.
An example of applying the team work framework would be found on the initial conversation the psychologist and student might have about what team meetings occur in the agency, their purpose and the students’ potential role in these. The student could then discuss this further with her social work supervisor to refine her thinking about the social work role in a multi-disciplinary team and over the period of the placement her experiences of undertaking this role and her development of new practice behaviours. Both supervisors would be providing feedback to her about her developing team work practice skills and as well as her critical reflection on these. Part of her initial learning contract would indicate team work skill development as a goal to be assessed by both her demonstration of appropriate social work team participation as well as her presentation to the multi-disciplinary team of her organisational change and development project.
DEVELOPING DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS
The student is undertaking their field education at a youth service and is involved in both counselling and community work. One of their tasks is assisting with events for Youth Week which are being organised by a committee made up of members of the local youth interagency meeting. The student will be attending various community group meetings in relation to the events, is responsible for developing promotional material and has volunteered to take the minutes at the youth interagency meetings. This means the student has to develop skills in writing for different audiences, purposes and using different styles and formats.
a. Recording different types of meetings
The student needs to develop skills in recording meetings in different ways. This includes formal meetings, such as the interagency meetings, which have a prescribed recording format for taking minutes and less formal meetings, such as community group meetings, where the aim is generate ideas for the events.
To develop these skills the student, with assistance from their field educator, first gathers examples of the records of different types of meetings. The student begins recording the various meetings they are involved in and as required seeks feedback feedback from the field educator.
b. Developing skills in writing for different audiences
The student has to prepare written information about the youth week activities for a number of different audiences and using varying formats. Examples include, information for the service website, the service newsletter, information about the event to appear on a youth focused website and a media release for local papers.
As preparation for these writing tasks the student collects examples of these different types of writing and discusses them during supervision. Key issues discussed include, identifying the different target audiences, identifying the purpose of each document and discussing the similarities and differences in the content and style of each of the example documents.
After the supervision meeting the student then prepares in dot point form a summary of the first document they need to write, discuss this with the supervisor and after receiving feedback prepares a draft document which is reviewed by the field educator.
c. Reporting the project /event
At the conclusion of the youth week events the student is involved in writing a number of reports. These include a report to the organisation that provided funding for the event, a report for the organisation’s management committee and short articles for the agency newsletter and the peak body for youth services.
The field educator provides the student with previous examples and in supervision they discuss the similarities and differences in purpose, style and content of these reports. The student prepares an outline for each document and after receiving feedback from the field educator completes drafts of each of the reports.
ASSESSING STUDENT ON GETTING TO KNOW THE COMMUNITY AND INTEGRATION OF THIS KNOWLEDGE INTO PRACTICE.
The student is completing a case work focused placement in a service working with the issue of violence against women and children. The service is located on the outskirts of a major city and the service covers a large geographical area that includes urban and semi-rural areas. The student has learnt about the local communities in a variety of ways including driving around the area, locating relevant demographic information on local council websites and attending a variety of interagency and community groups on an ongoing basis.
As a result the student has been able to identify of a number of key issues that impact on women and children using the service. These include poor public service infrastructure, limited private bus services , appreciation of the distance between the service location and areas where some service users live, the high percentage of families with young children in the area including many sole parents and a high percentage of people living on very low incomes, including Centre link payments.
During supervision the field educator has asked the student to consider how these issues may impact on individual clients, in particular their access to services. They have also discussed the policies the agency has in place to address these issues and as well as the gaps.
The field educator has observed through case discussions that the student is effectively utilizing these policies in their case work. The policies include reciprocal arrangements with other services so that workers can offer appointments closer to home when the woman lives a long distance from the service and sensitivity to women’s financial situation, for example awareness that some women may not have money to get to appointments scheduled the day before Centre link payments are due.
They have also discussed the fact that at present the service does not provide child care and the impact of this for some women, including attending counseling appointments and going to court for AVO’s . The student has been able articulate a sound rationale using key social work principles for why childcare is required and has identified strategies the agency is employing to address this issue, including documenting each case where this is an issue and raising it at relevant interagency and community meetings.
In response to questions posed during supervision and case discussions with the team, the field educator has observed that the student is able to articulate the relationship between their individual practices, the agency policies and the social work goals of social justice, intervening in disadvantage and respect for people.