The project will involve providing a continuing education opportunity for field instructors of the MUN School of Social Work. Dr. Monica Sesma-Vazquez will engage field instructors in a session regarding trauma informed supervision. Dr. Sesma-Vazquez is an Assistant Professor with Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary and has extensive experience teaching and providing supervision from a trauma informed lens.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students complete two 350-hour placements and Master of Social Work (MSW) students complete one 500-hour placement. Each student is matched with a field instructor(s) in an agency setting, who is an experienced social worker, who assumes a major teaching role in the integration of theory and practice in the field and facilitates student learning through introduction of new theories, knowledge, and research developments relevant to social work practice in the field setting. Field instructors are also responsible for evaluating student performance.
One of the objectives of the project is to build capacity within field instructors to provide exceptional learning experiences for students. This in turn will increase the capacity, strength, and knowledge of students, and future social workers within our province. Through feedback from field instructors, they have requested a need for more opportunities to increase their knowledge regarding supervision. Field instructors have also been unwavering in their support for students, even during the pandemic environment. This event will play a key role in celebrating and recognizing field instructors for their incredible contributions to our students.
The session will provide information to field instructors as to how they can incorporate the tenets of the trauma-informed perspective into field instruction. They will learn what it means to practice trauma-informed field instruction, how trauma from placements impacts students, as well as incorporating self-care practices, and engaging in discussions with students regarding vicarious trauma and burn out. The session will also discuss the prevalence of students entering placements with significant trauma histories, and discuss how histories of trauma may play out for students in placements. The session will identify strategies and concrete practices field instructors can use to practice trauma informed field instruction with their students. The session will also provide information on ethical considerations to consider when engaging in trauma informed field instruction.
The trauma-informed perspective is built on five core principles: 1) ensuring safety, 2) establishing trustworthiness, 3) maximizing choice, 4) maximizing collaboration, and 5) prioritizing empowerment (Fallot and Harris, 2009). Trauma informed practice has become an influential topic within the social work profession in recent years, which has been incorporated into all areas of social work practice, including direct practice with individuals and groups, organizational structures and culture, policies and programming, social work education, as well as field instruction and supervision.
Dill (2019) conducted a literature review of the topic of trauma-informed field instruction and models of practice. She concluded the literature review by stating, "This literature review highlights the complexity and necessity of integrating a trauma-informed perspective into social work field education. Incorporating a trauma-informed lens into the practice of field instructors, field educational curriculum, and program development is the next required step in our profession." Memorial School of Social Work has not yet provided training to their field instructors regarding the topic of trauma informed supervision.
As an in-person event would be challenging in the pandemic environment, and field instructors are located across the province and across Canada, the event will be through a webinar platform provided by the NLCSW (Newfoundland and Labrador College of Social Workers). The event will be recorded and made available on the NLCSW’s YouTube page following the live event on June 16th, 2022.
Following the event, feedback will be collected through a survey. We hope to have future continuing education events for our field instructors. Based on feedback following this event, we will have a better idea of the future interests field instructors may have. We also hope to partner with the NLCSW again, possibly through future continuing education events for field instructors. Continuing to provide opportunities also celebrates and acknowledges field instructors for the incredible work they do with our BSW and MSW students.
Dill, K (2019). Trauma-informed field instruction and models of practice. Field Educator.
Fallot, R. D., & Harris, M. (2009). Creating cultures of trauma-informed care (CCTIC): A self-assessment and planning protocol. Community Connections. https://www.theannainstitute.org/CCTICSELFASSPP.pdf