Social work revolves around the need and desire to assist others improve their lives. It is about helping people to cope with various adverse situations facing their lives. These situations may range from diseases, joblessness, disabilities, drug and alcohol misuse among other social evils.
Qualification and requirements behind social work vary depending on the level and job description. Academic and personality type are taken in to consideration.
The commonest minimum qualification to assure one a position as a social worker is a degree in social work. Other relevant and related majors are also acceptable depending on the course field and the size of the agency. The trend however in today’s job market indicates a strong preference to candidates with an advanced degree.
Registration and regulation is by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). A bachelor or a master’s degree has specific requirement on experience to be accredited by CSWE. For example BWS program is around 400 hours of experience. Experience may range in fields and may vary from psychology, psychiatry among many others.
Furthering professional skills and education in social work will arm me with many advantages in life. It will ensure that I am amply and adequately prepared to handle diverse scenarios and workload. I will hence be able to supervise others in the field as well as invent new plans to career for their clients. Professional attributes instilled range from independent thinking, professional client worker relationship, objectiveness and an extra-ordinary high level of emotional maturity (www.bls.gov)
Learning Goals and Objectives
Advanced career in social work requires intense learning and practice to conform to the set standards by the council on social work education.
There are various goals and objectives that I hope the MSN program will help me accomplish. As a student of MSN I will have to be adequately equipped and prepared to cope with the ethics and competence of dealing with individuals of diverse multicultural background. There is a need to learn and understand about the importance of social justice and clients empowerments.
In accomplishing the above I will have to display critical thinking abilities; have strong interpersonal communication skills to enable me interact well with the expected clients; use value and ethics as the basis for ambiguity elimination and conflict resolution; have ability of coping with complex systems and issues both at an individual level and in the layer society; apply the acquired skills and cultural experience to deal and arrest the social evils dominant in the society; utilize the authority at hand to influence change of attitude and policy meant to improve the society.
With the MSN program seeking to fulfill the above goals and objectives, I have identified a few areas and that would need my special focus for improvement.
There is urgent need for more advanced learning on how to cope with the diversified actual groups. This is in the understanding that the clients that I will be dealing with ascribe and subscribe to vowed cross cultural and multi-ethnic values and orientation. With no prior experience of dealing with such people it would be more important if more attention was channeled to correct this.
Diversity characteristics of student and clients.
One of the key factors that has to be put in to consideration when dealing with clients is their diversity in their individual demographic factors, just as the social workers offer a wide range of services so are the needs of the clients and cultural orientation diversified
It is important for me, as a social worker to be trained and equipped to deal with these disparities.
From a professional point of view, whether there exist any differences between the client and the social worker should have no impact on the quality of my service delivery. However I should recognize the advantages that are brought forth when a client and the social worker share similar characteristics ranging from cultural ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. I would be in a better position to understand a client of a Caribbean origin or a female that has gone through similar experiences to mine. It would be easier hence to assist and help the individuals. If the worker and the client are different there might be difficulties that might arise, as the social worker may not understand the underlying factors. All in all diversified clients will present a good opportunity for me to learn.
Characteristics of Learning Patterns and Obstacles
Of the three approaches to teaching and learning the apprentice method would be the most appropriate for me. This is an approach that seeks to actualize and put into practice the skills learnt in class and adapting them to a real situation. This method can expose me to real problems and helps me to be armed with necessary experience of understanding situations on the ground and in the field.
The key ingredient to apprenticeship is the need for supervision. Supervision is important as it acts as a guide towards doing what one is expected to do. Through the appropriate supervision a learner can be evaluated on his/her performance with the clients. Supervision is an important tool that ensures that an individual learns firsthand the values and ethics surrounding social work.
In apprenticeship it is important that I be a quick leaner to be able to synthesize and internalize what is being taught. Strengths or obstacles in learning will mostly revolve on my ability to deal with diversities both in culture and in the wide range of problems facing society. Many students are not well equipped with skills and the strong personality to deal with there diversities.
In this learning phase there are certain qualities and characteristics in students that would be important to ensure excellence. This would range from motivation, a caring personality, open mindedness, independent minded and objective.
Objectivity in this learning process is essential but hard to maintain, this is because I would be expected to deal with issues that centre on emotions and it is possible to be judgmental and let prior held perceptions obscure and shape the decision to I make. Learning opportunity
Every day presents a new problem and to a student in social work and hence a learning opportunity. Specifically however there are a wide range of opportunities and resources that I can use to gain knowledge and experience
Cases assignment is one of them. This is where I am to be assigned specific practical tasks to deal with. I may be allocated a task that deals with abused children. It will be up to me to come up with ways of dealing with a crisis of such a magnitude. In resolving this case I will have a new opportunity to learn.
Referrals from the various facilities such as learning and heath institutions present a novel opportunity for learning. They tend to expose the learner to practical and guided experiences. It will be hence be a chance for me to learn as I watch other perform the tasks .I can then consult where I feel that I am experiencing difficulties.
Consultations and conferences are too important opportunity for learning. In psychiatric consultation for example, I will be able to share with the experts on the difficulties I might be experiencing on the field. Clients too can share their difficulty experiences, be counseled and given advice on how to tackle their specific problems. The weekly consultative meetings are further opportunities. Here the instructor can evaluate my performance and the specific failures addressed. These meetings will me allow to interact with both the instructors and the fellow students. We will be able to share on the challenges we face on the field and at the same time consult the instructor on how to tackle these problems.
Short term learning objectives would include the need of developing more open mindedness especially when dealing with people of varied cultures. Having English as the second language sometimes can be an impediment to effective communication. More interpersonal interactions usually contribute a lot to improved understanding of different people. More practice hence on English will be essential to enable polish communication skills; this will be the basis of understanding the different culture background of the clients. In taking an advanced degree in social work I will be aiming at addressing this.
Long-term goals focus on the importance of developing an independent thinking approach to problems and the need to be confident and bold while interacting with the clients. This I will achieve through intense practice. The assignment given can be a source of confidence building especially when I am supervised appropriately. They will give me enough exposure on how to deal with the diversified clientele, for example dealing with elderly clients will give useful insights on the way to deal with clients of that nature and so will increase my interactions with professionals in the same field. All of these programs and experience will play a great role in ensuring the realization of my one of eventually establishing my own Social Work firm.