The success of a student in field practicum requires a commitment by several parties to carry out responsibilities of the practicum. These parties include the student, the practicum site, and the Field Supervisor, and Field Coordinator. The responsibilities for each party are outlined below.
A. Responsibilities of the Student
- Fulfill hours as scheduled, notifying the Field Supervisor and the Field Coordinator of absences, illness and car trouble immediately;
- Bring enthusiasm and curiosity to the learning situation;
- Respect client and agency confidentiality;
- Develop a learning plan and agendas for weekly supervisory conferences;
- Submit insurance face sheet to Social Work office if St. Olaf has issued a parking permit for the semester;
- Make increasing efforts throughout the semester to contribute to the agency’s work, look for what needs to be done, ask for direction when appropriate, and work independently as soon as possible;
- Conform to agency practice in dress, attendance at meetings, maintaining agency records, etc.;
- Master skills necessary to work in the agency such as: use of the telephone and computer system, information and referral network, preparation of social history or other social summary, interview, record, report to the Field Supervisor and to staff, participate in conferences, etc.;
- Gather information about the agency, services, programs, client group and related community systems by reading publications, historical materials, records, etc.;
- Seek feedback from Field Supervisor, assess own strengths and weaknesses, and initiate change where needed;
- Share relevant materials from integrative seminar with Field Supervisor to enhance the mutuality of the learning relationship;
- Notify Field Coordinator as quickly as possible of any concerns or discrepancies at the practicum that cannot be mutually resolved between students and Field Supervisors;
- Accumulate self-knowledge that enable her/him to assess individual suitability for the social work profession and for particular areas within that profession by:
- Assessing her/his strengths and limitations,
- Accepting constructive criticism, and
- Attempting to change or minimize limitations;
- Make a consistent effort toward “purposeful use of self,” integrating theory and practice;
- Complete the evaluation process, including a meeting with Field Supervisor and Field Coordinator on-site and a written evaluation of the field practicum;
- Conduct her/himself in accordance with the NASW Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics for the Minnesota Board of Social Work.
B. Responsibilities of the Practicum Site
The agency is responsible for providing an environment in which the student may learn about her/himself, and the client population served, the role of the agency in a particular social services network, and the profession of social work. This will include offering tasks that contribute to learning, assigning supervision that includes weekly meeting, maintaining contact with the Field Coordinator, and participating in evaluation of the student’s experience.
The agency shall:
- Agree with intended learning outcomes for the practicum and be willing to assign tasks that will help the student fulfill the outcomes;
- Designate one qualified social worker to be primarily responsible for direction of the student’s work. The Field Supervisor will have an MSW or BSW degree from an accredited program, a current social work license, and a commitment to direct the learning of a student (when the Fieldwork Instructor is not a professional social worker, she/he will work closely with the Field Coordinator to ensure a social work practice perspective);
- Designate space to be used by the student that is appropriate for the tasks assigned (e.g. private for interviewing) with appropriate equipment (telephone, computer);
- Not be under sanction by NASW.
C. Responsibilities of the Field Supervisor
- Become acquainted with the Social Work Program and student supervision by attending meetings scheduled with the Field Coordinator;
- Provide an agency orientation to the student, including its history, mission and purpose, funding sources, administrative and staff organization, and personnel policies and practices – telephone and computer practices, meetings, form, insurance and liability policies, etc.;
- Help the student develop the learning plan by contributing expectations and goals of the agency and Field Supervisor for the student’s experience;
- Review the learning plan frequently and encourage revisions in the plan or agency assignments as necessary;
- Meet at least one hour weekly with student to discuss assignments and readings, interactions with client/staff, and integration of experience with class work as regular time (not “as needed”) and reschedule if an emergency interrupts the regular meeting;
- Review assignments for integrative seminar and materials used in methods courses to assist the student’s integration of theory with practice;
- Notify the Field Coordinator immediately of irregularities in student’s performance (e.g. frequent absence or tardiness, resistant, negative, or apathetic attitudes, any inappropriate behavior);
- Be willing and able to evaluate the student’s performance in a timely fashion using criteria provided by the Program; participate in discussion of the practicum experience with the student and Field Coordinator at mid-term and complete required Field Practicum Evaluation Form at the end of the term;
- Complete Field Practicum Agency Information Forms and Field Supervisor Information;
- Notify the Field Coordinator immediately should she/he be sanctioned by NASW or have a social work license suspended or revoked.
D. Responsibilities of the Field Coordinator
- Recruit agencies to provide practicums and informing students of the possibilities;
- Define intended learning outcomes for the field practicum that are in keeping with the students’ abilities, the agencies’ resources, and CSWE EPAS;
- Prepare the students for the field practicum, including reviewing their responsibilities to the agency, the Program, the profession and themselves;
- Provide a bi-weekly integrative seminar where student share experiences in a confidential setting and actively integrate theoretical material and their individual experiences;
- Offer supervisory assistance through regularly scheduled conferences, at least one site visit during the semester, and telephone calls to maintain contact as necessary;
- Trouble-shoot emergencies and unusual occurrences;
- Assign the student’s grade with input from the Field Supervisor;
- Provide Field Supervisor orientation and recognition for their efforts and for the cooperation of the practicum sites.