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Finding Your Way Through Field Work

Finding Your Way Through Field Work
A Social Work Student's Guide

November 2015 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Written from the perspective of long-standing field director Urania E. Glassman, this practical guide helps BSW and first and second year MSW students successfully navigate field work. Vignettes, examples from field programs, and over 75 case illustrations further an applied understanding of every step in the field work process, highlighting student accomplishments, obstacles, and common dilemmas. Unique in its experiential approach, this applied text reinforces true learning in the field.

Chapter 1: Introduction To Field Work: Experiential Education
Developing Competency in Field Work  
How to Maximize Experiential Learning in the Field  
Framework of This Text  
Chapter 2: Student Qualities and the Transformational Process
Elements That Students Bring to Field Work  
Transformation in Field Work  
Five Elements of Field Work  
Chapter 3: Securing Agency Acceptance
Agency Endorsement of Student as Worker With Clients  
Preparing for Initial Agency Meeting  
The Initial Agency Meeting  
Qualities That Agencies Are Looking For  
Barriers to Acceptance By the Agency  
Chapter 4: Developing Social Work Competencies
Getting Started on the Right Foot at Field Placement  
Field Education as the "Signature Pedagogy" of Social Work  
Social Work Competencies and Practice Behaviors  
Social Work Competencies and Your School’s Curriculum: Foundation Field Work  
Social Work Competencies and Your School’s Curriculum: Second-Year Field Work  
Chapter 5: The Relationship Between Field Instructor and Student
Roles of Field Instructors  
Roles of Students  
Chapter 6: Process Recording and Other Educational Tools
Purpose of Process Recording  
Outline for Narrative Process Recording  
Additional Formats for Process Recording  
Further Educational Tools  
Chapter 7: The Relationship Between Faculty Field Advisor and Student
Faculty Field Advisor’s Roles  
Roles of Students  
Chapter 8: Timelines for Student Development
BSW Program Field Work Timeline  
MSW Program Timeline for Field Work  
Challenges For All Students  
Progression of Learning  
Block Placement Designs  
Chapter 9: Developing Social Work Competencies in the Foundation Year
Review of the Social Work Practice Competencies  
First-Year Competency Development Exemplars  
Moving Forward With Foundation Competencies  
Social Work Code of Ethics as Foundation for Competent Practice  
Chapter 10: Advancing Competencies in the Second Year
Getting Started  
Second-Year Specialization Exemplars  
Social Work Code of Ethics as Foundation for Competent Practice  
Chapter 11: Employment and Field Placement at the Same Site
Guidelines For Developing A Field Placement Within Your Agency Of Employment  
Common Problems And Pitfalls  
Chapter 12: Managing Stressful Relationships and Demands
Managing Stressful Relationships With Clients  
Managing Stressful Relationships With Your Field Instructor  
Managing Issues At The Agency  
Managing Demands Of Family And Friends  
Chapter 13: Utilizing Self-Awareness in Social Work Practice
Using Your History and Issues to Enhance Your Work  
When Your Personal Issues Get in the Way  
Managing the Countertransference and Transference (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried, & Larson, 2010)  
Using Your History To Help Others  
Chapter 14: Looking Toward the Future
Ending First-Year or Senior-Year Field Work  
Transition from First- to Second-Year Field Work  
Transition from BSW to Career or to MSW Program  
Transition from MSW to Career  

“Glassman helps BSW and MSW social work students navigate the field placement component of social work education.”

Janet Tyler
Cairn University

“Use of the nine core competencies makes this an excellent choice for the Practicum instructor.”

Herbert I. Burson
Troy University

“The importance of self-awareness and one’s own history is highlighted in a way that makes sense.”

Staci Jensen-Hart
Fordham University
Key features


  • 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 and ways of managing the effects of personal history on field work help students deal with the feelings and challenges they will encounter in the intricate relationships they must sustain with clients, field instructors, and faculty advisors.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

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