Finding Your Way Through Field Work: A Social Work Student’s Guide
Publication Year: 2016
Subject: Social Work Skills (general)
Over 75 insightful illustrations highlight almost every common issue that students face in their field work and demonstrate how each situation can be handled. Clearly identified topics in each chapter guide social work students through the many pitfalls and relationships of field work, including how to enter an agency and what professional comportment looks like. A focus on key relationships (with field instructor, agency staff, faculty advisor, authority, and the all-important client relationship) helps prepare students for effective social work practice. Second and third person narration offers a personal approach to field work to keep readers engaged. Practice illustrations, examples from field programs, and guidelines help students review and master key skills. Useful strategies for dealing with the many conflicting demands of family and friends ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- UNDERSTANDING WHERE YOU ARE HEADING
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Field Work: Experiential Education
- Chapter 2: Student Qualities and the Transformational Process
- Chapter 3: Securing Agency Acceptance
- Chapter 4: Developing Social Work Competencies
- THE DESIGN AND STRUCTURE OF FIELD WORK
- Chapter 5: The Relationship Between Field Instructor and Student
- Chapter 6: Process Recording and Other Educational Tools
- Chapter 7: The Relationship Between Faculty Field Advisor and Student
- TRANSFORMING THE DESIRE TO HELP INTO PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE—FROM CARING TO LEARNING HOW TO DO
- Chapter 8: Timelines for Student Development
- Chapter 9: Developing Social Work Competencies in the Foundation Year
- Chapter 10: Advanced Competencies in the Second Year
- Chapter 11: Employment and Field Placement at the Same Site
- I FEEL LIKE SPAGHETTI—ALL STRUNG OUT
- Chapter 12: Managing Stressful Relationships and Demands
- Chapter 13: Utilizing Self-Awareness in Social Work Practice
- Chapter 14: Looking Toward the Future
Copyright © 2016 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Glassman, Urania, author.
Finding your way through social work : a social work student's guide / Urania E. Glassman.
pages cm. — (Social work in the new century)
ISBN 978-1-4833-5325-8 (pbk.)
1. Social work education. 2. Social service—Fieldwork. 3. Social service—Practice. I. Title.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
15 16 17 18 19 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
As the editor of the SAGE series, Social Work in the New Century, I am delighted to introduce this latest book that focuses on social work’s “signature pedagogy,” field education. The series’ goal is to provide students, faculty, and social work professionals with the theoretical foundation, conceptual tools, knowledge, skills, and ethical principles required for effective practice in today’s rapidly changing local, national, and global context. Written with wisdom, insight, and humor by Ronnie Glassman, a leading social work educator, this volume provides expert guidance for undergraduate and graduate students to help them navigate the entire field work process and its many potential pitfalls.
Although field education is widely proclaimed as the most critical component of a social work student’s training and the development of the profession’s core practice competencies, it frequently presents the most difficult challenges for students. While many students are well prepared for their academic coursework, they are often less able to handle the complex and ambiguous practice situations with which they are confronted at their internships. Students are placed in circumstances that are outside their previous life and work experiences and are required to work with people whose values, goals, lifestyles, and daily problems are far different from their own. To become effective practitioners, students are compelled to examine their underlying assumptions, resolve tricky ethical dilemmas, learn how to apply broad theories to a specific context, negotiate complicated organizational and community environments, and grapple with what it means to be a professional. Recent demographic changes, increased socioeconomic inequality, and the fiscal impact of policy developments on field agencies have further complicated this complex educational landscape.
In her book, Dr. Glassman skillfully guides students through this landscape. She is sensitive to the issues students—particularly beginning students—face and to the multiple relationships that all students must develop to have a successful field placement experience. Through well-placed, pithy vignettes and case examples, she illustrates how many common student mistakes can be avoided and how inevitable missteps can be corrected. Glassman also distinguishes the specific issues faced by BSW, first-year MSW, and advanced MSW students as well as those that [Page xx]affect students who use their place of employment as an internship. She analyzes the roles of key players in the field education process (field instructor, task supervisor, faculty field liaison) and presents invaluable advice to students on how to maximize the educational opportunities their field agencies provide.Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social JusticeUniversity of MarylandSchool of Social Work
This text is presented to reduce students’ stress and anxiety as you approach field work in the first and second years of the MSW program, and in senior year of the BSW program. Created from the perspective of a long-standing field director, it aims to achieve smoother field work experiences for student readers. The text gives practical approaches to students for succeeding in field work. It takes students through routes that bypass or navigate the typical obstacles they will meet. By escorting a student through the maze that is field work, the author maximizes a student’s ability to learn in field work.
Field directors seek to groom students by highlighting favorable and undesirable actions and setting them on the path for maximizing the learning experience in field work. This text provides a field director’s insight about students’ successful and adverse approaches to field work. Its many real-life case illustrations and vignettes shed light on your role as student and the roles of those involved with you in field work. The goal is to prevent the numerous mishaps that occur down the road, which may lead to disruptions in field work or even failures.
Yet this is not a how-to book simply because field work is not prescriptive. The book briefly describes experiential learning models for field work. It includes how to use supervision and coaching from a field instructor. It affirms your development of artistry in using yourself to perform the social worker role rather than to just read about it in a book.
The book is organized in four major parts with several chapters in each.
Part I: Understanding Where You Are Heading, describes the student’s direction. It includes an overview chapter on field work, a chapter on experiential learning in field work, and one on social work competencies that students will have to attain, with strategies for coping with your many concerns. Case illustrations further highlight coping.
Part II: The Design and Structure of Field Work explains the structure and framework of field work. Chapters discuss ways of getting your relationships with clients started, how to best forge a productive relationship with your field instructor, facing your discomfort about being vulnerable or judged, and how to [Page xxii]access insight and direction from your faculty field advisors. Interactions with field instructors and clients are found in many case illustrations.
Part III: Transforming the Desire to Help into Professional Competence: From Caring to Learning How to Do shows how students enact professional skill. Included are chapters on how students acquire and apply social work competencies in the foundation senior year of the BSW program and first year of the MSW program. The attainment of competencies in the advanced second year of the MSW program is presented. Case illustrations of process recordings, in which competencies and practice behaviors are labeled, are used to provide clarity about practice, and to demonstrate the field instruction process.
Part IV: I Feel Like Spaghetti—All Strung Out presents chapters dealing with the feelings and challenges students encounter in the intricate relationships that have to be sustained with clients, field instructors, and faculty advisors. Strategies for dealing with the many conflicting demands of family and friends are presented, along with ways of managing the effects of personal history on your field work. Added focus is provided for students in moving on to the next stage—whether it is heading to a job or further education. Included are many case illustrations.
The case illustration method in this book represents a unique field work learning tool that brings students’ accomplishments and dilemmas to light, thereby igniting your understanding and catalyzing learning.
Students look forward to field work with eagerness and expectation. With the passing of time, social workers have asserted that field work was the most memorable experience of their social work education. It is my hope that this book will influence your effectiveness with clients and stimulate the achievement of your fullest potential in field work.
The path of my career has always seemed to be propelled by the good advice and fabrications of friends and colleagues. This project is one more opportune happening.
My sincere gratitude goes to SAGE—to Kassie Graves, associate director and publisher, and Dr. Michael Reisch, Social Work Series editor, for enticing me to craft a field work book for students. Kassie has never failed me in her unwavering support of this and my earlier work. Michael’s stalwart commitment to and understanding of my approach to this text has been heartening.
I also must acknowledge Leah Mori for so capably copyediting the knots and Megan Markanich for her meticulous review.
What fun—sharing my views directly with students. My indebtedness to them can never be fully rewarded. I hope I have paid tribute to their lives, their need to earn a living, or just the fact of the limited life experience of their youth.
The field educators’ network, especially the New York Area Directors of Field Instruction and NANFED (North American Network of Field Educators and Directors) are all part of the village that emboldens me and stimulates the scholarship in field education. I thank them for this.
The late field directors, Dr. Helene Fishbein and Dean Schneck, and educator, Dr. Catherine Papell, were grand visionaries and prime movers whose legacy sustained my work.
My gratitude to Dr. Charles Garvin for his generosity is infinite. Bart Grossman, Jane Hassinger, Len Kates, Ellen Sue Mesbur, Marvin Parnes, Virginia Cook Robbins, and Louise Skolnik have been significant partners in my work.
I am privileged with the collegiality and friendship of my coworkers. The ensemble at Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University is unrivaled. I am particularly grateful to my talented field department team: Raesa Kaiteris, a field work genius with students and field instructors who has been with me unconditionally for well over a decade; my support Gloria Marin; and to the recent [Page xxiv]members who have graciously and ably assisted me in the tumult of the work—Jill Becker Feigeles, Frances Montas, and Heleena Van Raan. I could not have asked for a better cohort to be proud of every day.
My thanks go to Nancy Beckerman, Joan Beder, and Michele Sarracco for expertly steering students and agency staff through many field work intricacies. Charles Auerbach, Jade Docherty, Lynn Levy, Susan Mason, Jay Sweifach, and Wendy Zeitlin have always given me their unqualified help. It is quite a boost that our dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks is a field work author and former field director; I deeply appreciate and value her staunch support. Agency field educators Heide Rosner, Rebecca Szmulewicz, and Karen Zuckerman have contributed greatly to my reflections for this volume.
Valued friendships with Erika Sanchez, Gloria Scorse, and Pat Strasberg have been central to my life.
My life partner and husband, Ron, and our sons, Dan and Alex, have lovingly endured the endless time frame of field work. Ron is a captivating teacher and prolific writer about democracy, equality, and social institutions. Dan, an astute economic and social observer, uses his research skills as a financial analyst and journalist. Alex, a philosopher theologian, employs his social work insight to write about the concept of a person. They are magnetic and draw people to them. I am extraordinarily proud of them. They contribute to my social construction of reality as I try to reflect upon what I do through their unique lenses.
The extended family includes my bighearted niece Nancy Glassman Pasqual and her David and Noah, the Florida Glassmans, the Kyriakopoulos and Alatza units in Greece and in America, and the rest of the Kalamata cohort. By their side is the will of my parents, Denis and Magda Ernest (aka Anastasopoulos). All chronicle strength of character, a social ethos, and love of learning that is part of our shared heritage.
I, along with SAGE, gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following reviewers:
Patti Aldredge, Virginia Commonwealth University
Terrence T. Allen, North Carolina Central University
Jane E. Barden, Valparaiso University
Jennifer L. K. Boiler, Rutgers University
Pamela Brodlieb, Long Island University Post
Patricia Carl-Stannard, Sacred Heart University
Nicole M. Cavanagh, University of South Carolina
Bronwyn Cross-Denny, Sacred Heart University
[Page xxv]Sandra K. Edge-Boyd, University of Oklahoma
Staci J. Jensen-Hart, Idaho State University
Rachelle Kammer, Fordham University
Mark Lamar, Rutgers University
Katherine Perone, Western Illinois University
Don Schweitzer, Pacific University
Janet Tyler, Cairn University
Mindy R. Wertheimer, Georgia State University
[Page xxvi]This book is dedicated to the students who undertake the challenge of social work
because they have the insight to envision a rewarding future.
About the Author
Whoever preserves a single life is considered
by Scripture as if he preserved an entire world.—Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5
So many situations presented in this volume are representative of students’ dilemmas, and all of their “perfect imperfections” (Legend & Gad, 2013). What has to be grasped upon completing a social work program with a bachelor in social work (BSW) or with a master in social work (MSW) is that everything is a perfect imperfection. Relationships are messy, and throughout, relationships require communication; reflection; and, most of all, commitment to the relationship. This holds true in relationships with clients, field instructors, faculty, and other students.
To sustain the generosity and humanitarianism to preserve a single life, hold on to your wherewithal to reflect and to further your personal and professional growth—step by step.[Page 206]
Notes and References[Page 207]
1998). The practice of field instruction in social work: Theory and process (, & (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.1963). Experience and education. New York, NY: Collier Books. (Original work published 1938)(2005). The professions in America today: Crucial but fragile. Daedalus, 134(3), 13–18., & (1993). Field education for reflective practice: A re-constructive proposal. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 8(1, 2), 165–182.(2006). The learning styles questionnaire, 80-item version. Maidenhead, UK: Peter Honey Publications., & (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.(1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the Western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA., & (1948). Learning and teaching in the practice of social work. New York, NY: Farrar and Rinehart.(1984). The reflective practitioner. New York, NY: Basic Books.(1990). Educating the reflective practitioner. New York, NY: Wiley.(2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), 52–59.(Council on Social Work Education. (2015). Educational policy and accreditation standards. Alexandria, VA: Author.American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Emeril Lagasse. (2015). Biography.com. Retrieved from http://www/biography.com/people/emeril-lagasse-9542380Work Ethic. (2015). In Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Retrieved from http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/collegiate/work%20ethicCouncil on Social Work Education. (2015). Educational policy and accreditation standards. Alexandria, VA: Author.2005). The professions in America today: Crucial but fragile. Daedalus, 134(3), 13–18., & (National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: NASW Press.NYU Silver School of Social Work. (2015). Field learning evaluation: Advanced concentration (second year). Retrieved from http://socialwork.nyu.edu/content/dam/sssw/academics/msw/pdf/Advanced%20Concentration%20Mid-Year%20%26%20Final%20Evaluation.pdf2005). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), 52–59.(Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University. (2014). Field instruction manual (pp. 34, 37, 42, 43, 51, 52). Retrieved from http://www.yu.edu/uploadedFiles/Academics/Graduate/Wurzweiler%20School%20of%20Social%20Work/Fieldwork/FIELD%20MANUAL%20REVISED%20FEB2013.pdf1998). The practice of field instruction in social work: theory and process (, & (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the Western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA., & (1942). Learning and teaching in the practice of social work. New York, NY: Farrar and Rhinehart.(1990). Educating the reflective practitioner. New York, NY: Wiley.(American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.New York State. (2014, July). NYS OMH single point of access (SPOA) care coordination/ACT Program application. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/mental/spoa-urf.pdfNew York State. (n.d.). Global assessment of functioning. Retrieved from https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/childservice/mrt/global_assessment_functioning.pdf2011). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities ((7th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: NASW Press.American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.1942). Learning and teaching in the practice of social work. New York, NY: Farrar and Rhinehart.(2011). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities ((7th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.Council on Social Work Education. (2015). Educational policy and accreditation standards. Alexandria, VA: Author.2008). Group work: A humanistic and skills building approach ((2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: NASW Press.2015). Skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities ((8th ed.). Independence, KY: Cengage Learning.National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: NASW Press.Simmons College School of Social Work. (2015). Field education manual (p. 4). Retrieved from http://internal.simmons.edu/students/ssw/msw-students/field-education/field-education-manual1892). Early Greek philosophy. Herakleitos of Ephesos (535 BCE to 474 BCE) (p. 136). London and Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black.(2006). The clinical supervisor–practitioner working alliance: A parallel process. The Clinical Supervisor, 24(1/2), 23–47.(1997). On parallel process in social work supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal, 25(4), 425–435.(2010). Direct social work practice—Theory and skills (, , , , & (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.[Page 210], & (1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Proceedings of the Western training laboratory in group development. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA.1983). Family centered social work practice. New York, NY: Free Press., & (2010). Awareness of self—A critical tool. Social Work Education, 29(5), 523–538.(2013). All of me. On Love in the Future [CD]. Los Angeles, CA: Columbia., & (Writers). (
- Diverging Learning Style Concrete Experience/Reflective Observation (CE/RO): The learner who is focused on concrete experience and reflective observation
- Assimilating Learning Style Abstract Conceptualization/Reflective Observation (AC/RO): The learner tending to favor linking abstract concepts with reflective observation
- Converging Learning Style Abstract Conceptualization/Active Experimentation (AC/AE): The learner using abstract conceptualization to create action.
- Accommodating Concrete Experience/Active Experimentation (CE/AE): The learner using experience to guide the development of future action.
Appendix A: Process Recording Outlines[Page 211]Process Recording Narrative Format
Part I Pre-Engagement
Student’s preparation includes what information you gleaned about the client’s situation and circumstances, and preparatory empathy—your ability to put yourself in the client’s shoes.
Part II Narrative: Tell the story of interaction with client(s).
The longest portion of several pages includes description, observation, dialogue, and summary of session themes.
[Page 212]Part III Impressions
Describe reactions to the session. How do you feel it went? What highlights were important?
Part IV Plans for Future Action
Part V Questions for Field Instructor
____________________________________________________________________________Process Recording Column Format
Part I Pre-Engagement: Describe your cognitive preparation for the meeting and your preparatory empathy.
[Page 213]Part II Client Session (longest section—continues for several pages)
Dialogue Student’s Feelings Your Intentions Relevant Theory Field Instructor Comments
Part III Impressions
Part IV Plans for Future Action
Part V Questions for Field Instructor[Page 214]Process Recording Format for Group Work
Name of Group:
Session Number: Meeting Date:
Group Members Present: Give every member a disguised name, and maintain these throughout.
Group Members Absent: Disguise the names.
Include issues from prior sessions and your preparation for addressing these.
Use quotes, summarize interaction, and give each member a disguised name.
In summarizing, identify session themes. Clearly present your interventions. Include your observations and understanding of group dynamics, participation and communication patterns, and group norms.
Describe any activities of the group and the interactions that occurred.
Briefly share your reactions to the meeting.
Plans for Future Action
Questions for Field Instructor
Appendix B: Field Placement Planning Form[Page 215]Second Year
Please complete this three-page form in order to begin the placement process for second year of field work. This form will be used to plan your field placement experience and will be sent to your field placement agency.
MSW DEGREE PROGRAM
Check off all that apply:
Field Placement at Place of Employment ( )
School-Assigned Field Placement ( )
[Page 216]CONCENTRATION ________________________________________
FIRST-YEAR FIELD PLACEMENT DESCRIPTION
Agency Name ____________________________________________________________
Type of Agency ____________________________________________________________________
Student Assignments (List):
Practice Methods/Modalities Used:
WORK EXPERIENCE IN SOCIAL WORK AND OTHER FIELDS
Please provide information on the last two jobs you have had, starting with the most recent one.
Dates Agency or Firm Position and Duties
VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES (welfare, educational, civic, political, etc.):
Dates Agency or Firm Position and Duties
REQUESTED OPPORTUNITIES FOR SECOND-YEAR FIELD PLACEMENT
Please indicate a range of special interests you have. If you are employed and will be doing your field placement at your job, take into account the available opportunities that your agency can offer.
Type of Populations:
Practice Methods (individual work, family, groups, and community social work):
Other Learning Opportunities:
STUDENT’S LEARNING GOALS FOR SECOND YEAR
- Identify some professional roles and skills you wish to develop. Discuss their relevancy to your chosen concentration.
- Describe the types of assignments that should help you meet these goals.
Please list any factors/circumstances that should be taken into consideration when planning your field placement: geography, time, physical condition, religious observance, family commitments, etc.:
Are you dependent on public transportation? Yes _________ No __________
Driver’s License: Yes __________ No _________ Availability of Car: Yes _________ No _________
Appendix C: Sample Résumé[Page 217]
1422 Boulevard St. Michele
(342) 290-xxxx firstname.lastname@example.org
Paris School of Social Work Master in Social Work May 2016
London School of Economics Bachelor of Arts 2012
Major: Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude
Second Year – Specialization in Clinical Social Work September 2015–May 2016
Institute for Psychosocial Therapy
- Individual counseling of clients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other diagnoses
- Group work in day treatment program—conducted activities therapy group, creative writing group, and women’s group with patients in day treatment program
- Crisis Mobile Unit—ACT team member
- Conducted outreach and crisis intervention with team to provide medication for patients, monitor their well-being, and prevent rehospitalization
- Received individual supervision from licensed social worker weekly
- Prepared and submitted weekly process recordings for supervisory review
[Page 218]First Year – Generic Social Work September 2014–May 2015
Odeon Community Center
453 Boulevard St. Germaine
- Worked with immigrant mothers of children in early intervention program. Populations were primarily from African and Middle Eastern countries. Met weekly in group. Saw individual mothers.
- Focus on children’s French language development skills to prepare them for school
- Worked with education staff in teaching parenting skills and child development for mothers
- Facilitated adolescent group of girls to focus on issues related to school, culture conflict with parents, and friendship and other relationships
French Language Teacher September 2012–May 2014
Manchester High School
- Teach beginning and advanced French classes to ethnically diverse high school students
- Create innovative program inviting native French speakers to classroom
- Develop anti-bullying program and curriculum for the school
Camp Counselor and Unit Head Summers 2009–2012
Orchard Street YMCA Settlement Camp
New York, NY, USA
- Theater director for French language production
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE September 2010–2012
Seniors and high school students