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About this book

Learning through practice lies at the heart of social work education, providing the opportunity for students to develop and employ the skills, experience and knowledge they need to become effective social workers. This exciting new addition to Palgrave's Practical Social Work series provides an integrated and user-friendly approach to practice learning by putting placements within a broader learning framework. Rather than treating placements as an isolated aspect of the social work degree, Practice Learning in Social Work shows how they are relevant to all aspects of the social work experience.

Divided in to three parts, this book's pragmatic approach mirrors students' own journey as they progress from preparation for practice, through to actual experience, and then beyond this to support personal and professional development right up to qualification as a Newly Qualified Social Worker.

With a strong emphasis on service users and carers as central stake holders, Practice Learning in Social Work illustrates the practical nature of the profession with realistic case scenarios based on real life learning experiences, reflective learning exercises and practice led research references throughout. Progress checklists, linked to the Professional Capabilities Framework, also provide readers with the opportunity to assess their own strengths and learning needs.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Key skills for social work practice

Abstract
The first chapter provides information on core social work skills and knowledge needed for social work education and practice and draws on initial topics which are essential for students at the start of the social work degree programme before placement opportunities are provided and as part of the preparation and readiness for practice stages of learning. The following aspects are covered:
  • Understanding adult learning
  • Introduction to knowledge of self
  • Personal and professional use of self
  • Ethics and values in practice
  • Communication skills
  • Working with groups and as part of a team
  • Learning professional competence by refecting on practice p]Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) domains covered in Chapter 1:
  • Domain 1: Professionalism
  • Domain 2: Values and ethics
  • Domain 3: Diversity
  • Domain 5: Knowledge
  • Domain 6: Critical refection and analysis
  • Domain 7: Intervention and skills
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 2. Developing social work skills for practice

Abstract
This chapter builds on the introduction to social work skills in the first chapter and explores how social work skills, values and ethics shape the social work profession. There is an emphasis on service user and carer perspectives and their experiences — good and bad — of social work intervention. The chapter explores the qualities and skills most valued by service users and carers during interaction with social workers and how the ‘communication bridge’ of the working relationship can make a positive difference to people’s lives (Kadushin and Kadushin, 1997). Finally, the chapter introduces the shadowing of direct social work practice as part of the readiness to practice process within social work degree programmes and the importance of this prior to the commencement of the practice learning placements.
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 3. Preparing for the first placement

Abstract
The frst two chapters have focused very much on the preliminary skills and knowledge needed to gain a sound grounding of skills for social work practice and to prepare for the frst placement. This chapter moves the planning process forward to offer insight into the process of getting ready for beginning placement and covers the following areas:
  • Self-auditing of skills and knowledge achieved so far and the placement application process
  • Awareness of any additional learning and support needs prior to commencing placement
  • Diversity of service settings available for the frst placement
  • The role of the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) as the regulating body for social work and ethical principles and codes of conduct for practice learning
  • Main stakeholders within the placement structure and analysis of roles and responsibilities for the student, tutor and practice educator
  • The pre-placement visit and the importance of planning and research prior to the visit
  • Stepping stones throughout the frst placement — the placement structure p]Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) domains covered in Chapter 3:
  • Domain 1: Professionalism
  • Domain 2: Values and ethics
  • Domain 3: Diversity
  • Domain 4: Rights, justice and economic well-being
  • Domain 5: Knowledge
  • Domain 6: Critical refection and analysis
  • Domain 7: Intervention and skills
  • Domain 8: Contexts and organisations
  • Domain 9: Professional leadership
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 4. First days on placement

Abstract
This chapter progresses forward from the previous chapter’s focus on the preparation for placement to the frst days within the placement setting and the importance of a well-planned induction. Early placement days should primarily be structured around a robust induction period: ‘A properly planned induction programme will provide reassurance, aid motivation and improve performance’ (Williams and Rutter, 2010, p. 38).
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 5. Getting established on placement

Abstract
This chapter makes the link between practice education and academic social work study to illustrate how practice learning takes place in the first placement. The practice educator plays a vital role in blending the learning and bridging the gap between theory and practice by providing the learning opportunities to meet your individual learning needs as a student and by taking into account the specific core work carried out by the placement service setting.
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 6. Removing blocks and barriers on placement

Abstract
This chapter has been positioned between the chapters covering the first and the final placements, as a way of recognising that different challenges may crop up at any time throughout the practice learning experiences. These may be anticipated difficulties, but they are more likely to be due to unexpected blocks and barriers that may pose difficulties at some point throughout the two placement experiences.
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 7. The final placement

Abstract
This chapter takes us forward to the final placement which is completed in the last year of the social work degree programme. Although placement structures do vary across the United Kingdom, in England the format for most degree programmes will be 70 days in the first placement followed by 100 days in the final year, with an emphasis on the completion of statutory tasks set within a social work legislative framework. We will also look at the framework for practice learning in a holistic way to show how different codes and standards are integrated as part of the quality assurance of placements.
Jennifer Burton

Chapter 8. Progression to social work employment

Abstract
Social work as a profession has altered greatly during the twenty-first century due to the broader context of professional, organisational, social and political change and the impact that this has on the individual and society. There is now perhaps more guidance than ever for newly qualified social workers, which has been government driven to spearhead improvements in the support provided for them, particularly during the first year of social work practice. This chapter will explore the increased infrastructure of support and why this is so crucial for social work staff progressing from education into the complex, demanding and fast pace of the first year in social work employment.
Jennifer Burton
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