Field Education Supervisors' Experiences of Social Work Student Placements in the COVID-19 context
Keywords:field education, placement, social work, supervisors, COVID-19
The COVID 19 pandemic significantly impacted the ability of universities to provide social work student placements. During 2020, Victoria, Australia, experienced stringent public health measures, including social distancing measures. This created uncertainty in relation to the provision of social work student placements, as health and human service sector agencies struggled to adapt their service delivery models. Where possible agencies were still able to provide placement opportunities to student, although they looked different. This article reports on findings from research undertaken with placement supervisors who supported student placements during 2020 for one Victorian based university. A mixed method research design was used to explore supervisors’ experiences of placement in the COVID-19 context. Data is drawn from 96 responses to an on-line survey and 12 people who participated in focus groups. The findings suggest that although there were some challenges experienced by supervisors, they found creative ways to deliver supervision and support student learning, highlighting that it is possible to ‘do’ placements in other ways than what has been considered ‘traditional’ for many years.
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