The Student Room Group

I'm really unhappy with my Social Work Placement

Hello,

I'm just looking for some advice really.
I've just started my first Social Work placement but I really don't feel like it's an appropriate placement for a Social Worker.
The team only work with adults for maximum 6 weeks and only around reablement issues, such as helping them wash, dress etc. The staff team is predominately support workers who provide the personal care.
The workers who do the initial assessments complete one visit where the assessment is done. They follow the paperwork, which asks questions about the tasks above (washing, dressing etc.) and then create goals around this that the support workers help with. After this visit, they often never see the person again, but will see them maximum twice if the service ends and they're available.
There is no case holding, staff don't organise their own diaries so will be told who they are seeing that day, and as I said that might be the only time they ever meet them.

There are no social workers on the team and the team don't really work with Social Care, unless they put in a referral for long term support and then it's just the referral.

I've come from a Social Work background, I'm used to case holding, completing assessments, reviews, chairing meetings with families and partner agencies etc. So this feels like a bit of step back in terms of experience. I also don't feel like this placement offers me the opportunity to apply anything that we've learnt? When I meet someone once, how can I apply theory as to why they're involved in Social Work? Especially because they are often involved for a very specific health, for example, an elderly person has had a fall. How can I build relationships and do case analysis? I'm really struggling.

I have raised my concerns but I feel as though the Uni things I'm being dramatic.
After reading other queries, I'm also scared about seeming like I'm causing a fuss and that this will cause the placement to breakdown and I'll fail.
I know I'm competent and I was so looking forward to my placement and I just feel like I've been absolutely set up to fail.
Reply 1
Are you studying social work? If so, then this is a part of the bigger picture. It sounds to me like you have a preconceived idea about what the job you will end up doing is. This is just one strand of a big pie. At the very least you are confirming what you like or don't like but equally you should be reflecting upon your experiences and understand the multi-faceted nature of social work in this country and how diverse it is.

If you ask me, this placement has been a roaring success because you have identified that this isn't the kind of work you want to do after you complete your course. Equally, you now have a view of something you hadn't considered before you started the course. Win win win!
Reply 2
Original post by hotpud
Are you studying social work? If so, then this is a part of the bigger picture. It sounds to me like you have a preconceived idea about what the job you will end up doing is. This is just one strand of a big pie. At the very least you are confirming what you like or don't like but equally you should be reflecting upon your experiences and understand the multi-faceted nature of social work in this country and how diverse it is.
If you ask me, this placement has been a roaring success because you have identified that this isn't the kind of work you want to do after you complete your course. Equally, you now have a view of something you hadn't considered before you started the course. Win win win!
Hello,

Thanks for your reply.
Yes it is social work.
I understand what you're saying, but you wouldn't work in the placement as a social worker, nobody there is a social worker. I don't have an issue with the team, but I have an issue with what I'm been expected to do on placement bytl the university and how the placement can't provide that, if that makes sense?
I'm aware of the different roles within social work but definitely feel like a placement should allow you to implement the basic principles we have been taught, which sadly this does not.
Reply 3
Original post by leafygirl
Hello,
Thanks for your reply.
Yes it is social work.
I understand what you're saying, but you wouldn't work in the placement as a social worker, nobody there is a social worker. I don't have an issue with the team, but I have an issue with what I'm been expected to do on placement bytl the university and how the placement can't provide that, if that makes sense?
I'm aware of the different roles within social work but definitely feel like a placement should allow you to implement the basic principles we have been taught, which sadly this does not.
Is it your first year. If so, I think it is pah for the course. I can't comment on social work but my wife did nursing and some of her first placements were terrible. But then first years are low priority on the pecking order and as much as anything you are gaining work experience e.g. working with other people. For someone like yourself that might be a waste of time but you have to remember some students come onto courses like social work or nursing with absolutely no experience of anything. Hang in there. I am sure things will get better.
Reply 4
Original post by hotpud
Is it your first year. If so, I think it is pah for the course. I can't comment on social work but my wife did nursing and some of her first placements were terrible. But then first years are low priority on the pecking order and as much as anything you are gaining work experience e.g. working with other people. For someone like yourself that might be a waste of time but you have to remember some students come onto courses like social work or nursing with absolutely no experience of anything. Hang in there. I am sure things will get better.
I'm doing a fast track social work, so the whole thing is only 14 months long. Everyone on the course had to have experience before they applied so I'd hoped that would be taken into consideration.
I think my main worry is that its not social work focused and it runs quite differently, which makes it really hard to meet my criteria and I've also got 3 essays to write, based in the placement, which at the moment I'm unable to do. It feels really upsetting.
Thank you for responding though, I really appreciate it!
Reply 5
Original post by leafygirl
I'm doing a fast track social work, so the whole thing is only 14 months long. Everyone on the course had to have experience before they applied so I'd hoped that would be taken into consideration.
I think my main worry is that its not social work focused and it runs quite differently, which makes it really hard to meet my criteria and I've also got 3 essays to write, based in the placement, which at the moment I'm unable to do. It feels really upsetting.
Thank you for responding though, I really appreciate it!
Ah - fair enough. Good luck. Just one word of caution. Fast track makes it sound like you are on some sort of high achievers pathway. The other way to look at it is they are desperate for anyone so will cut corners to put bums on seats. You are about to go into a profession where you are literally making life and death decisions over the lives of others. Make sure that every move along the way you protect yourself and if you don't feel qualified to make important decisions defer upwards.

All the very best and good luck. You are doing into a very worthy cause and you have my full respect! I hope you get a better placement next!
Reply 6
Original post by leafygirl
I'm doing a fast track social work, so the whole thing is only 14 months long. Everyone on the course had to have experience before they applied so I'd hoped that would be taken into consideration.
I think my main worry is that its not social work focused and it runs quite differently, which makes it really hard to meet my criteria and I've also got 3 essays to write, based in the placement, which at the moment I'm unable to do. It feels really upsetting.
Thank you for responding though, I really appreciate it!

Are you doing the Step Up to social work course with it only being 14 months long?
If you’re still on the placement, make sure you seek support from your peers and your tutor. It helps with keeping perspective.

I am in a similar situation where my experience has been with adults where I feel very confident and certain around working with risk, assessing and attending multi agency meetings in.

I was placed in a school setting working with young children… no one truly knew what I was meant to be doing and it was an area of practice I felt a bit uncomfortable with. Seeking wider support has helped to shift my perspective and just get through the placement which is soon coming to an end.

You have to remind yourself that despite the challenges, you started the course for whatever your reasons were and this is just a temporary part of the journey. If it feels overwhelming or not to your expectations, then remind yourself that it will pass. There are requirements from BASW that your training must meet, and it may at times feel a little tick box if you have a wealth of experience. Do bear in mind the breadth of social work and how you need to have a good broad skills and knowledge. A generic qualification will allow you to work across a multitude of services, so placements are a good way of trying different things out.
Reply 8
I have been offered a place on the course, really excited about starting

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