Social Work Programs

June 19, 2011

Social Work Field Placement Examples

social work field placement For most students earning either an undergraduate or a graduate degree in social work, the field work placement is a significant part of their social work education. The field work placement allows students to spend a large part of their week in an actual social work setting, giving them real life experiences and allowing students to choose which area of social work they believe they would enjoy the most. There are many, many different areas of field work placements to choose from.


Case management: These types of field work placements give students the opportunity to connect clients with all types of services. For example, mental health case managers may work to connect clients with a psychiatrist and therapist in the community; an HIV/AIDS case manager may help someone suffering from AIDS get financial assistance for anti-retroviral medications. In addition to connecting clients with resources, case managers often form positive and strong relationships with the clients they help.
Therapy/counseling: These placements train students to be effective clinical social workers through the lens of individual, group, and/or family therapy. Often student in therapy placements have a great deal of supervision due to the delicate nature of the therapeutic relationship.

Hospitals: There is a wide variety of types of duties social work students in field work placements in hospitals can expect to have. Social work students may work with patients prior to discharge to ensure that they will have what they need before leaving the hospital, such as home health services or various pieces of medical equipment. Medical social workers have a tough but rewarding job.

Schools: Social workers serve many roles in public schools, including enforcing attendance policies, assisting families in poverty, helping students acquire special education services, and addressing concerns teachers and other school staff may have about the student’s general wellbeing. School social workers may also teach students about topics such as anti-bullying or conflict resolution.

Social services: This is the type of social worker many people think of when they hear the words “social work.” Social workers in social service agencies often help identify situations in which children are being abused or neglected, and work with families to prevent these situations from happening again. These types of social workers may also help find foster placements or possible adoptive homes for those children. Other social workers employed by social services help low-income families receive public assistance such as food stamps, child care subsidies, or transportation assistance.

Veterans: Some social workers work solely with veterans, and help them receive services that they need to live fulfilling and productive lives. A significant portion of veterans are homeless or suffering from mental illness, and these social workers work to connect veterans with services that will alleviate their problems. Social work with veterans covers post traumatic stress issues that occur as well.

Retirement communities: Social workers in retirement communities often work both individually with the resident as well as with families of residents. They will address issues that come with having an aging parent, and may meet with residents individually to process the life changes they are experiencing. Social workers in retirement communities may also provide psychoeducational programs, such as learning about various common illnesses in elderly populations.

Hospice: Social workers in hospice settings work with those who have a chronic illness or who are dying. They also work with patients’ families to better cope with the stress of having a terminally ill or dying family member. Social workers in hospice settings provide individual, group, and family therapy, and may help family members identify additional resources.

There are many settings for one’s social work field placement or internship towards the mws degree or in one’s bsw education. Each is a unique learning experience.

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