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Development of Your Professional Self

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1 Development of Your Professional Self
So far in your lives you have been in the role of student. Perhaps some of you have had part-time jobs that led to your decision to become a social worker. That was the case with me. I learned on the job how to promote choice and self-determination with the people that I supported, but it wasn’t until I was in my first field placement as an MSW student that I really began to develop my professional self and my identity as a professional social worker. This presentation is designed to help you think about, and plan to become, a professional in the social work field. Carol Britton Laws, MSW

2 What is a Professional? Professionals have a body of knowledge
scope of practice agreed upon values oath or code and accountability to our society for our profession and our professional behavior. Professionals have a body of knowledge. Is this true for social work? What knowledge does social work base itself on? (strengths based perspectives, PIE, psychological and systems theories) Professionals have a scope of practice. Social work has a scope of practice that seeks to create positive change in the lives of people. Professionals have agreed upon values and a code. How is this expressed in our field? Finally, professionals are accountable to the larger society as representatives of their field of practice and this is demonstrated through BEHAVIOR.

3 What is Professionalism?
Describes a certain type of behavior in the workplace Based on our values and understanding of our professional roles Evidenced in our behavior Professionalism is the behavior that is demonstrated by someone who is a professional in her or his field. As a behavior it is observable and may be measurable. People also have an expectation of what professionalism looks like because it is based on a role that is created and understood by those in the field. What do you expect professionalism in social work to look like?

4 How is Professionalism Judged?
Against a set of expectations or standards From our own personal values set and understanding of what “professionalism” means May be situational in nature Strongly influenced by culture Judging professionalism is subjective but there are guidelines that are shared about how it should be judged. What are some of the standards that social workers use to judge professionalism in our field? (client centeredness, respect, self determination)

5 Professionalism is in the eye of the beholder…


7 Professionalism is Determined By:
Our Image Our Communication Our Competence Our Demeanor It is important for you as the emerging professional social worker to reflect on your behavior on the job and to think about how others like your clients and coworkers view your level of professionalism as a social worker. Role Modeling

8 From the Client’s Perspective
Trustworthy Competent Empathetic Respectful Caring Clients will judge your professionalism by:

9 Unprofessional Behavior - Clients
Non-therapeutic relationships Inappropriate communication Inappropriate self-disclosure Exploitation – money, gifts Breaches of confidentiality

10 From the Co-Workers Perspective
Trustworthy Competent Supportive Respectful Accountable Your clients are not the only people who will be evaluating you as a professional. You will likely be working in teams and with a lot of colleagues who will be judging your professionalism by:

11 Unprofessional Behavior - Coworkers
Inappropriate relationships Disengagement – texting, inappropriate use of internet, phoning Provision of misleading information Disrespect

12 Qualities and Characteristics of a Professional Social Worker
Competent Trustworthy Respectful Act with Integrity Considerate Empathetic Courteous Dependable Cooperative Committed What does it mean to act, think, and feel like a professional social worker?

13 Getting There – 6 Phases Expectation Revelation Refutation Negotiation
Adaptation Affirmation Baretti (2004) The Professional Socialization of Undergraduate Social Work Students. The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 9 (2).

14 Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
Og Mandino

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