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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finishing Fall Field Practicum

IT'S ALMOST OVER. It's gone pretty quickly, I have to say. What have I learned? So much. I've been on investigations. In homes, at schools, with children, with parents, in nice homes, in not-so-nice neighborhoods. I've felt fired up. And privileged. And nervous. And confident.

I think the coolest days were when I was partnered with a case manager whom I really respected. Her style was real. She cared about her clients. She knew her limitations. She didn't give herself enough credit for her strengths. She was humble.

I was a team player. I did what was asked of me without exception. Well, there was that one day when I knew I was being taken advantage of by a worker who was so far behind that it was ridiculous. So I opted out. I wasn't supposed to be doing that anyway. So I went back to my responsibilities. I stood up for myself. That was a good thing.

I look forward to a break. And, I'm happy to report -- I look forward to returning for the second half of field practicum in January 2010. I wondered if I'd like it. I prayed I would -- since I have the Title IV-E grant and all. Since I will be working there after I graduate. At least until I pay the grant back with my time. Who knows? I may stay longer.

For today, though, I think I'll take it one day at a time. This day is pretty awesome, after all.

~Ms. T. J.


  1. Ah, students being taken advantage of in practicums. Having done three practicums, and on my fourth, I've seen my share of that. I remember it happening to me. I was sitting in my supervisor's office, and was doing some reading. He said, "It doesn't seem like you're busy. I have a bunch of stuff for you to do!", then he told me what it was. I said, "That really doesn't help me meet my learning objectives in the agency, but if you're behind on some of this, I'll definitely help you out a bit."

    That certainly stopped it and he didn't ask again. He was trying to push it off on me as learning. Riiiight....

    ANYWAYS!, congrats on almost finishing. It sounds like you've definitely taken in a lot. :)

  2. antiSWer~

    Yeah, I actually really liked the person, and I could see they were in deep, AND I'd also been around enough workers to see their intensity of workload. It was just different, if you know what I mean.  No judging here. I just knew I'd be enabling someone and that's never a good idea.

    Thanks for your support.

    ~Ms. T. J.

  3. T.J.

    Thanks for sharing!  Thanks for helping me to become aware of what is to come.  I'm very happy the semester is almost over and look forward to a break.  By January, I will be refreshed and ready to run again. 

    At one time I was comtemplating about using the Title IV-E grant, please let me know how that works out for you.

  4. Hey Everyone! I just found this website and thought it looked interesting. I'm always up for talking to fellow social workers!! I will graduate with my BSW in 4 weeks!! Very excited, but also frustrated because I still do not have a job!!! Anyone else feeling frustrated???


  5. Hi y'all!  Glad to hear you've done well with your field TJ!  I have the issue with being taken advantage of in field all the time in part because I'm a career changer.  I've worked in IT for 8+ years now and it's really easy for people to hand me tasks that involve computer work they don't have the skills for.  SO I have to be concientious about that.  Are they giving me the assignment to design a layout for the newsletter because I have software skills they need, or because it's advancing my learning of marketing and how it fits into macro social work.  It's a mix of both, so yes, I'm designing a newsletter to enhance communication with our community providers.  It's a constant balance for me!

    Sarah, I too am starting to get nervous about job hunting.  I'm really hoping to turn my field placement into a job.  I've talked to several people on a variety of levels there about this.  But if there's no job there, what do I do?  I've got an IT job now that's part time and I can turn it full time when I exit school, but part of the point of the masters is to get out of IT!!!!  So yah, I feel you pain, although I have another semester to go till graduation!

  6. Congrats on the good experience.  It's great when our field placements give us "real" experience.

    Todd Atkins, LCSW
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge Counseling

  7. My husband can probably relate to your comment as much as I can. He is a computer geek (we both kinda are due to our publishing backgrounds) and he is even more so. At work, he is the unofficial IT dude.

    I really believe our field is recession-proof to some degree. Are you willing to go where the jobs are? There are lots of SW job sites, including this one.  I may be overly optimistic, and I believe the sky is the limit!

    ~Ms. T. J.

  8. I am staying in the moment and feeling really optimistic about the future. You will be great, Sarah!

    ~Ms. T. J.

  9. For me, the Title IV-E was a no-brainer. I need experience. Child Welfare is incredible experience. I didn't want to incur debt; the grant solves that issue.

    As for the actual job, I am "trying it on" at my field experience and with so many departments, there has got to be something that fits!

    Thanks Oretha-
    Ms. T. J.