The Social Work Field Instructor's Survival Guide

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The Social Work Field Instructor's Survival Guide

SKU# 9780826127761


  • Melissa A. Hensley PhD, LISW
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Despite the critical role that community-based supervisors play in the training of social work students, there has been no comprehensive resource for core information--until now. This is a sage, practical guide for social work field instructors who want to provide expert guidance to their students in the field and in the classroom. It helps field educators to impart the knowledge, skills, and values of the social work profession and to assist students in translating classroom knowledge into effective practice in realworld settings. The book helps instructors to master the nuts and bolts of field education by delineating how to orient students to field work and supervision, monitor cases, evaluate student performance, navigate professional ethics, comply with CSWE practice competencies, and fulfill all requirements of a social work practicum.

The authors, who are seasoned social work practitioners and veteran field instructors, distill years of hard-earned wisdom regarding all components of the field education process. They describe how to recruit practicum students and facilitate positive collaboration between school and field agency. The chapters outline dos and don'ts of supervision, learning assessment planning and agendas, evaluation plans and techniques, how to integrate theory and practice, and how to best assist students who are struggling. Plentiful examples from social work programs and field agencies clearly illustrate the challenging process of providing field instruction to both graduate and undergraduate social work students.


  • Provides comprehensive, practical guidance for all aspects of social work field education
  • Includes helpful strategies regarding challenging aspects of field education
  • Addresses student orientation, evaluation, professional ethics, supervision dos and don'ts, integrating theory and practice, and much more
  • Guides field instructors in complying with CSWE practice competencies
  • Helps field instructors clarify the expectations of a social work practicum and stay connected with their students' schools

Product Details 

  • Publication Date November 06, 2015
  • Page Count 160
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826127761
  • EISBN 9780826127778

About The Author(s) 

Melissa A. Hensley, PhD, LISW, is an assistant professor of social work and field education coordinator at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned a BA in history, an MSW, and a PhD in social work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, she holds a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Hensley has experience as a social work field instructor for several colleges and universities. In addition, she teaches the Integrative Field Seminar course for foundation-year MSW students at Augsburg College. Prior to her career in higher education, Dr. Hensley worked as a social worker in the fields of housing/homelessness services and community mental health. She is active as a volunteer in mental health policy advocacy and education.

Table of Contents 





1. Working With a Practicum Student: First Steps
Melissa A. Hensley

How Do I Become a Field Instructor?

What If I’d Like to Have a Practicum Student but I Don’t Currently Have One?

Practicum and Internship Roles

Learning About the Field Instructor Role

What Are Reasonable Expectations of a Social Work Practicum Student?

Legal and Practical Considerations

Getting Ready


2. Facilitating Positive School–Field Agency Collaboration
Melissa A. Hensley

The Development of School–Field Agency Collaboration: Background

Who’s Who in the Social Work Program?

How Do You Ensure Good Communication Between the College and the Field Agency?

Collaboration: Ensuring Integration of Classroom and Field Setting


3. A Checklist of Dos and Don’ts
Mary Simonson Clark

As You Begin . . .

Do Commence Thoroughly: Initial Conversations

Do Continue Intentionally: Ongoing Supervision

Do Conclude Thoughtfully: Problem Solving


4. Maximizing the Essential Tool: The Learning Agenda
Christina L. Erickson

Purpose and Development of the Learning Agenda

Using the Learning Agenda During Field Supervision


5. Teaching Policy in Field Education
Melissa A. Hensley


The Complementary Nature of “Micro” and “Macro” Skills

How Can Field Instructors More Effectively Teach Policy Practice to Their Students?

Discussing Policy Practice in Supervision


6. Integrating Theory and Practice Methods in Field Education
Laura A. Boisen and Bibiana Koh

Literature Review

Student Feedback Related to Integration

Fostering Integration



7. Supervisory Processes: Supporting Development and Positive Change for Every Student
Melissa A. Hensley

Approaches to the Supervisory Relationship: Background

How Do I Identify Areas in Need of Improvement?

Common “Trouble Spots”

Helping Students to Improve

When Is It Appropriate to “Fire” a Practicum Student?



8. Field Evaluation for Professional Development
Lois Bosch

Literature Review

What Is Field Assessment?

What Is the Purpose of Field Evaluation?

What Is the Timeline?

Where Is the Evidence?

What Complicates the Assessment Process?

What Are the Outcomes?

9. Field Education and Professional Ethics
Melissa A. Hensley


Common Ethical Challenges

Competence in Practice

Ethical Dilemmas



Melissa A. Hensley

Appendix A: Resources for Inquisitive Field Instructors

Appendix B: Resources for Policy Practice

Appendix C: Resources for Program Evaluation