A Rotational Social Work Field Placement Model in Regional Health
Keywords:Field education, Rotation model, Social work placement, Student supervision
Increases in student numbers and education providers have combined with pressures on the human services sector to create field-placement-shortage stress in many parts of Australia. In this climate some Australian social work programs have sought alternatives to the traditional, labour-intensive, one student/one field educator, single-site model of field placement. The rotation model, as an alternative, has a longer history in America, but is only recently being trialled and evaluated in Australia. The introduction of fee charges for placements in public health triggered a potential loss in local placements and regional workforce development.
Although this initiative was the catalyst, the focus of this paper is on the development of (and a successful small pilot) a sequential, rotation model of social work field placement. Implementation of the rotation model was enabled by a collaborative partnership between social work staff at a regional university and public health social workers. The generally positive reaction to the rotation model from staff and students suggests it warrants further implementation and evaluation. Strengths and limitations of the model are discussed.
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