Social work is a multi-faceted discipline that demands expertise in social, political, cultural and psychological spheres. Social workers perform a broad range of duties that aims to solve problems of the people we attend to (Garthwait, 2014). A year ago, I started my practicum in a hospital in New York. While at the hospital, I was required to take care of the sick by providing necessary needs and attention that facilitate the treatment of the patients. I was clueless on what to expect in the field since I had no prior orientation on the practicum from fellow social workers. I had new experiences from the new placement. The days were exciting and horrifying at the same time. I knew that there were numerous things to learn. I had to find a mentor who oriented and guided me whenever I concluded that I was not competent enough to handle a patient. I also had to apply the knowledge I learned In my classes to handle most of my clients.
For instance, in performing my duties in the hospital, I have managed to act as the community organizer, clinic assistant, group worker, report writer, and the program supervisor. Through the practicum, I am aware of the prevailing conditions in the field and I can relate the lessons in class to what is happening in the field. Practicum also enabled me to get awareness on the challenges expected on the ground and solutions to the problems. Furthermore, the practicum provided me a chance to develop my critical thinking skills that will make me relevant in my future job placements.
Second peer response
During my internship in the childrens home, I took care of children with disabilities. I had to face the experiences that I had never thought of meeting in my life. For instance, in my whole life, I had not spent time in a population with people with disabilities. Therefore, I found emotions taking control of me. Furthermore, I started sympathizing with my clients instead of assisting them in their capacity. This limited the level of service I could offer to them since I was nervous. After thorough consultations with my supervisor, I found the need of exercising empathy instead of sympathy. As a result, I was able to serve and interact with the clients freely, and this improved my services to them. Through the practicum, I was also able to execute my organizational communication, planned change of process, evaluations and analytical skills.
Additionally, the practicum provides opportunities for experimental learning that develop the professional competence among the students. This is because the students are assigned to perform various duties such as hospice care whereby they can learn on the different ways of attending to different clients. For instance, the student can apply the knowledge on adolescent development on a group of parents. In this case, the student will try new skills that can be implemented in the field. From the learning process, the students gain skills and can make critical decisions about their area of study. The practicum also provided me with the opportunity to engage in practicing social work in a systematic form directly.
Garthwait, C. (2014). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students. (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education
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