Field Instructor for the Department of Social Work
What made you want to become a field instructor?
I was so struck by the value of my internships through my BSW and MSW programs and how well-informed I felt I was to begin my journey as a professional social worker. Not completely informed, but certainly a step or two further along than I would have been with no practice or examples set by my field instructors.
Why do you continue to serve as a field instructor?
I began in the late ‘80s. It fascinates me every day to interact with social work interns as they navigate the intersection of their academic experience and their professional future. Social work interns bring so much to our agency with interest, enthusiasm, knowledge, creativity, compassion and time. Our hospice patients are so well-served when an intern is available to provide them with the knowledge and skills the social work profession is built on. Students often begin in a hesitant way, due to the nature of hospice social work. But, in no time, their confidence and interest grows as they practice what they have been learning.
How do you promote professional growth and development with your students?
We encourage our interns to participate in every continuing education option we offer to all of our staffers. Attendance at the NASW state conference as well as social work inservices and workshops are made available. We also include interns in our volunteer continuing education inservices, which are excellent opportunities to learn new things and interact with our hospice volunteers.
How do you collaborate with students to meet learning objectives?
Weekly supervision! Additionally, our students spend a great deal of time with several of our 10 social workers. That time naturally revolves around the learning contract. Students are encouraged to bring all of our interdisciplinary team members into their learning. We host a number of disciplines so we are a student-friendly organization.
How does TCU support you in the preceptor role?
The faculty and staff at TCU in the Department of Social Work are very hands-on during the placement. On the rare occasion that I have had a student who needed extra attention, all I had to do was call or email and I had a partner to work with on the student’s behalf. In-person visits to our agency during the semester cement the relationship between TCU and the agency and show the student that we are all there for the student’s success. There is a lot of attention and intensity, which shows in the quality of work that the student demonstrates.
Edited for length and AP Style.