July 4, 2008

My Next Practicum

I met with my field practicum coordinator yesterday and I feel it went well. I'm one of those people that is fairly indecisive about where I want to be in social work and while there are a lot of areas that I want to explore, I can't decide on just one. I went in, sat down and basically told her that I had no clue where I wanted to go and that I really needed her help! We talked about my previous experiences, areas that interested me and skills that I already have. The meeting went well and there are a few options open to me. One of the more intriguing ones that she shared was a half time in a hospital psych unit, and half time working with mental health in the community. There's also an organization that does policy development that looks interesting, but I don't know exactly what I'd gain from that. I have a lot of time to decide, as my practicum will not start until January of next year, but I wanted to start early so that I wouldn't be scrambling at the last minute.

I'm always amazed at how many of the people in my program have such a definite idea of where they want to do practicums and what areas they want to work in. And most of them aren't even putting up a front of having goals and direction! They really do know! I think this is something I'll struggle with constantly. When I first started, I wanted to do hospital social work. Admittedly, this was for the security and pay, but the more I've learned about it, the more I think it's not for me as full-time work.

I'm going to sit back and think about my options more. What do I want to gain? Where would I fit in? Where can I go to challenge myself?


prin said...

Hey, don't feel bad...i'm finished and I still don't know :) I wish I had done what you are doing and had been more proactive in the decision making process. I also wish I had asked for a school, hospital or DHS placement. Those are the one's that really work you and give you the most experience. I'm not sure if you said already but are you a bsw student or a msw student? The only reason I ask is because hospitals require a msw. in fact if you're young go on straight through and get the masters, you will be glad you id when it comes to choices....k, must step away from the computer now, been on it all day :) Have a good one!

aawk said...

I'm a BSW student. The hospitals here take BSW students and have lots of jobs for them.

Also, I'm not TOO young, but I do plan on going straight through for my MSW. :)

cb said...

I'd be the last person to give any advice as I pretty much didn't have a clue what I wanted to do when I was studying. All I knew was that I wanted to work with adults - I ended up with one placement in elderly care (which I'd never even considered) and one in community mental health and have ended up doing a mixture of the two (yes, you can guess, elderly community mental health!).
I always liked the idea of hospital social work and I don't know how it is over there, but working now between the health and social care fields, I find that some of the health services are very hierarchical and it can be very easy to get swept into a medical model if you aren't careful. I think I was affected because I thought it would be like the medical dramas on TV too, all George Clooney-type doctors being excessively kind.. er.. not that it isn't.. but there are also a few non-George Clooneys around.
Sorry - not much actual advice there! Good luck with the choices!

aawk said...

I'm currently taking a health care course and the instructor does tell us that, as social workers in the Canadian acute care system, we "have to know our place". This pisses some people off and they say they'd never work there, but I almost take it as a challenge. Someone has to advocate for treating people as people, don't they?

cb said...

To be honest, as far as I'm concerned, that's the place of social work within medical care settings - to draw in the social model as opposed to the medical model and to ensure that it is not forgotten in the treatment of the whole.
Sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge - depending on the attitudes of the medical staff as I'm often in a minority but this is where some of that relationship-building works in a professional setting. People are more likely to take the things you say seriously when they are seeing you are an individual and working with you on a daily basis rather than as a random body in the social work department..

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