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Conducting a Successful Agency Orientation Field Instructor Training September 17, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Conducting a Successful Agency Orientation Field Instructor Training September 17, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conducting a Successful Agency Orientation Field Instructor Training September 17, 2008

2 Our Objectives: 1) Describe the importance of the agency orientation; 2) Define the elements of a successful agency orientation; 3) Identify strategies for incorporating these elements into instruction and supervision.

3 The Importance Of An Agency Orientation A student’s first few days in a social work agency can set the tone for many months to come. (Some) Research Findings: 1.Research indicates that students benefit from agency orientation activities. 2.Students who participate early in the placement in activities designed to orient them to the agency, report that these activities enhance their field experience (Knight, 2001);

4 The Importance Of An Agency Orientation (cont) 1.Students who find the agency orientation helpful are more likely to believe their field instructor is helpful (Knight, 2001); 2.The majority of students who are given reading materials about their agency in the beginning of the placement report that these materials enhance their learning experience (Knight, 2001). 3.Students who have positive initial impressions of their field agencies have higher levels of overall satisfaction upon completion of the field placement (Fortune, 2001).

5 Guidelines For Conducting An Agency Orientation 1. Before Your Student Arrives Prepare the physical location of where the student will be placed. – a desk, phone, office supplies, etc.; –at a minimum, access to a quiet workspace and all equipment needed to do professional work.

6 Guidelines For Conducting An Agency Orientation (cont) Communicate to other staff members the role and purpose of your student. –other staff members should understand that the student is not in the agency to make copies, run errands, etc. Research on student satisfaction with field placements indicates that students want to feel like a part of the agency and want to be treated like a professional (Fortune & Abramson, 1993).

7 Guidelines For Conducting An Agency Orientation (cont) 2. Conduct a Tour of the Agency Help students become familiar with the physical layout and departments of the agency. Introduce students to important staff members as part of the tour. – administrative support, –other social workers, –the director of the social service aspect of the agency, –key personnel in other units having contact with social work.

8 Guidelines For Conducting An Agency Orientation (cont) 3.Schedule a Series of Brief Presentations or Meetings Ask important staff members to give a brief presentation to the student regarding their roles in the agency. Interviews with and shadowing other staff in their roles is an excellent way for students to develop relationships and to learn about the interactions with and expectations of social work.

9 Guidelines For Conducting An Agency Orientation (cont) 4. Develop an Orientation Packet for the Student Written materials assist students in learning about the agency and demonstrate that the field instructor has prepared for their arrival. The orientation packet should include important agency policies and procedures and any other information to help the student understand the agency.

10 Conducting An Agency Orientation (cont’d) If your agency has a new employee handbook, much of this information will be relevant to your student and should be provided. The orientation packet can also consist of selected readings addressing the practice of your agency and the client population.

11 Activity: Agency Orientation “quiz” This is a tool for assessing your agency orientation, what you might want to add, change, etc

12 Information To Include In Agency Orientation An effective agency orientation should include information addressing each of the following areas, and can be included in an information packet or given verbally: 1) Important Policies and Procedures Agency dress code Parking Hours of work, overtime expectations, and flexibility of hours Times and dates of staff meetings Policies regarding transportation of clients Reimbursement procedures for expenses Emergency contact information Policies and procedures related to social work activities

13 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 2. Agency Description: Written materials that can be provided to and reviewed with the student: Clientele the agency serves Eligibility requirements Types of services provided Services that are not provided The role of the social worker in the agency Organizational structure of the agency Sources of funding and revenue for the agency Accreditation standards or other regulatory requirements

14 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 3. Identification How students will identify themselves to clients and on written documents; Undergraduate students should not identify themselves as social workers. Graduate students with undergraduate social work degrees can identify themselves as social workers in graduate training. Develop a title with your student that accurately reflects the student’s role. In all cases, it should be clear that the student is not an employee of the agency. Clients should understand that the student is practicing under supervision of a social worker.

15 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 4. Confidentiality Provide specific information for your student about confidentiality and potential disclosures of confidential information. –If in a clinical setting, HIPPA regulations should be described. Most students understand general guidelines about confidentiality, but many will still have questions about specific situations.

16 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) Confidentiality (cont) Do not assume that a student knows how to manage conflicts about confidentiality –especially when pressed by authorities to divulge information. Be sure the student knows to ask you about any concerns or questions regarding confidentiality as they arise. Provide specific examples of situations that could involve confidentiality issues and guidelines for managing these events.

17 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 5. Safety Talk to your student about any safety precautions applicable to your agency or the surrounding area. Many students beginning their placements have concerns about conducting home visits. –This is a good opportunity for student to learn about specific safety policies and practices. If your agency has a security officer, arrange for the student to meet with him or her to learn about agency protocol, warning signs, prevention, and other questions.

18 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 6. Agency Terminology Provide your student with a glossary of agency abbreviations or terminology, particularly as they start to read agency files and reports. Clarify exact definitions and use of critical terms like ‘stat’ and ‘Code Red’, as well as how to respond to priority communications.

19 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 7. Making Referrals Provide your student with information on how to locate and make referrals to community partners and resources. Students can be given an orientation assignment of developing a resource packet to assist them and future students throughout the placement

20 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) 8. The Supervisory Relationship Ask the student about: Their style of learning and communications Previous supervision experiences, pro and con; What they expect and need from supervision; Cultural differences as possible factors in communications

21 Information To Include In Agency Orientation (cont) The Supervisory Relationship (cont) Tell the student about your expectations for the supervisory relationship, including: –Your style of supervision –Roles and responsibilities for you and the student –Your vision of the working relationship –Your availability for scheduled and unscheduled supervision –Whom the student should contact when you are not available –Guidelines regarding assignments and submission deadlines –A tentative overview of how you see the placement progressing –Coordination and communication with any additional practicum instructors or task supervisors (others involved in student learning but without MSW degrees).

22 Coordination Of Supervision If you share instructional responsibilities with another other MSW PI or an agency task supervisor (an agency staff member involved in student learning but without MSW degree): Insure that you and the other supervisor or PI have met or talked about –joint planning, –expectations, –monitoring of progress, and –ways to share feedback with the student.

23 Coordination Of Supervision (cont) Develop clear lines of responsibility, authority, and reporting requirements for each of your roles; Check frequently with the student and colleague to monitor effectiveness. Insure the student to be open about any conflict arising with different perspectives or management styles; Help student focus on positive aspects of learning from others.

24 Activity: Orientation Strategies Objective: To assist field instructors in identifying strategies to incorporate the elements of an effective agency orientation into practice. Instructions: In pairs discuss strategies you have used or thought about using to provide an effective agency orientation.

25 Foundation Practicum Assignments related to Agency Orientation Activity: Review Assignments for SW 523 Introduction to Practicum 1. Orientation Checklist 2. Practicum Instructor Interview 3. BASW/Foundation Learning Contract 4. Due Dates Checklist (Foundation)

26 Foundation Practicum Assignments related to Agency Orientation 1. Orientation Checklist: To be completed over the 24 hours students will be at the agency after acceptance but prior to start of practicum. Items on the checklist should be dated upon completion or dated regarding when they will be completed. The checklist and timeframe were developed to assist students and agencies in structuring critical elements of orientation/ Agencies may have additional orientation requirements of students.

27 Foundation Practicum Assignments related to Agency Orientation (cont) Immunizations Required of social work students as members of the UW Health Sciences and for professional liability coverage. Students are required to meet with Hall Health Center to –review their records and plan for any needed tests or immunizations and –to keep current in their immunization status (including follow-through with the Hepatitis B series and yearly TB tests and readings). Students who are not compliant with immunizations may not continue in practicum until all requirements are met. Students will be notified by if they are reported by Hall Health to be non-compliant and should to determine needs and make a

28 Foundation Practicum Assignments related to Agency Orientation (cont) 2.Practicum Instructor Interview: Students are asked to meet with their Practicum Instructor and to ask ten questions about their background and approach to social work. The student then writes a 3-4 page paper reflecting on the instructor’s responses to these questions.

29 Foundation Practicum Assignments related to Agency Orientation (cont) 3.Learning Contract (to be covered in full in subsequent module): An educational plan and agreement between the student, PI and the Practicum Liaison about student activities at the agency: –To develop competencies under each required curriculum objective; –To guide the student’s experience at the agency and be referred to during quarterly evaluations. Student and PI review professional opportunities available to the student at the agency; agree to specific roles and tasks that the student will undertake in each area. Submit within four weeks of the start of the quarter; The faculty Practicum Liaison assigned to the agency will review and approve the contract, or return it for clarifications prior to approval.

30 Materials/Q and A Materials In Orientation Module: Introduction To Practicum Activity List Introduction/Orientation To Practicum Site Required Activities BASW/Foundation Practicum Requirements/Due Date Checklist Foundation Contract Interviewing Your Practicum Instructor handout “Agency Orientation Quiz” Orientation Strategies Worksheet


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