The purpose of this blog is to discuss the results of the mid-term evaluation in terms of social work skills and explain my professional growth and action plans for future field education experiences. The practicum experience at Vatsalya provided me with multiple opportunities to apply my academic knowledge and demonstrate the variety of social work practice skills in real-life situations involving ethnically diverse and vulnerable clients.
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The final evaluation presented by the field instructor suggests that my results were excellent, as I performed at a high level (5) or clearly demonstrated (4) the competencies in all areas of practice. I successfully followed the NASW Code of Ethics, maintained professionalism through self-reflection/self-regulation, supported professional demeanor, and cooperated with the supervisor (Competency 1). Additionally, I engaged in diversity via ethical decision-making (Competency 2) and considered social, economic, and environmental factors to identify the barriers and help ethnically diverse clients (Competency 3).
I also exhibited excellent application of theory and practice to conduct research and use critical thinking (Competency 4) for the benefit of vulnerable individuals/families. Moreover, I examined welfare opportunities and local, state, and federal policies (Competency 5) to find the best care or social work service options available for disadvantaged and rehabilitating clients. I efficiently addressed engagement (Competence 6) and assessment (Competence 7) of clients/client systems by using the essential skills (geniuses, empathy, cultural competence) and professional tools (strengths perspective, motivational interviewing) to build rapport and trust. The agency-approved intervention procedures were employed to make informed decisions and set treatment goals (Competency 8) and evaluate the outcomes (Competency 9) based on the client’s needs and limitations.
I hope to use the knowledge and skills obtained during the field education course in my next practicum experiences. The process recording introduced in the course allowed me to determine my professional strengths and weaknesses in the management of each particular case. It is a valuable tool that I plan to use in my future practice or field education experiences. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to employ macro-level interventions and advocacy initiatives at Vatsalya. Thus, I plan to address this area of practice by employing the social work competencies and knowledge of social problems encountered by vulnerable Hispanic, African American, and Asian clients.
The field instructor mentioned that my primary responsibilities at Vatsalya contributed to my excellent level of resiliency, professionalism, dedication, and skills. The feedback positively impacted my confidence, but I feel the need for further improvements and the development of my professional identity. My career goal is to employ a culturally sensitive approach and best practices to enhance diverse clients’ adherence to the proposed treatment and guide them to the achievement of favorable outcomes and planned termination process. I also aim to bring positive social change and achieve justice for all through meaningful contributions to policy changes.
My practicum experience at Vatsalya allowed me to understand the gap in healthcare and social services that prevents diverse elderly clients from enjoying a high quality of life and well-being. The focus on the environment is the unique feature of social work practice (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2018). Therefore, during my next field experiences, I would like to explore opportunities for macro-level advocacy to support financially or educationally disadvantaged residents of my community. I intend to continue developing the core competencies through learning, research and supervised practice to specifically target the social problems of ethnic and racial minorities in need of social work services.
I am confident that the field education experience at Vatsalya helped me grow as a social work practitioner and assisted in the development of my professional identity. I encountered some challenging cases and became confident in supporting clients requiring dementia management, rehabilitation after trauma, and adaptation to the aging process. Moreover, I learned to use self-reflection to manage my values, as well as strengths and weaknesses in practice situations (Garthwait, 2017).
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Working in a multi-cultural setting promoted my professional growth as a culturally sensitive practitioner, as it demanded the use of cultural competence and humility to manage cases and effectively communicate with diverse clients. I also understood the value of guidance provided by the supervisor and my colleagues, as it promoted my professional growth by enhancing essential communication, organizational, and social work skills.
Personal action plans should enhance my professional practice based on my personal values and the limitations identified during the field education experience. The development of a professional identity is a gradual process, and there is a constant need to refine social work practice skills (Laureate Education, 2013). At Vatsalya, I interacted with vulnerable clients through individual sessions and supported them by introducing micro- and mezzo-level interventions.
The approach is useful for individual issues, but it does not resolve major social problems of diverse populations. During my next practicum experience, I plan to employ my skills and macro-level interventions to advocate for disadvantaged individuals and groups experiencing racism, inadequate access to healthcare services, and inequality. In order to reach the goals of the action plan, I intend to cooperate with local authorities and government agencies to change public policy and achieve equality and social justice.
Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Pearson.
Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2018). Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Self-assessment and looking ahead. Web.