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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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