Way hey! I have just passed my post-qualifying (PQ) award, thus
ending a process which for me has lasted a little over three years.
It has been a process which has evoked a plethora of emotions.
These have ranged from the frustration and bewilderment of having
to complete yet another piece of academic work, through to, dare I
say it, enjoyment and the recognition that this has been a good
opportunity to reflect on the development of my social work
Broadly speaking the PQ award is made up of six individual units of
work, aimed at demonstrating how practitioners have developed and
enhanced their practice since they qualified.
I was pleased to hear that my six-month training programme to
become an approved social worker would academically provide me with
PQs 2, 3, 4 and 5! This training, partly run by Rob Brown a
well-known and respected authority on the Mental Health Act, was
unquestionably the best I have ever done. The course delivered a
wide-ranging and stimulating programme to prepare us for the
demands of this challenging position.
So this left me with just PQ1 and PQ6 to complete. PQ1 requires
putting together a portfolio of work including a critical career
review and a number of case studies to demonstrate how I have
continued to link theory to practice and to show how I have
improved my ability to work with clients in an anti-discriminatory
and anti-oppressive way – the core values of social work. This
proved a fairly straightforward if time-consuming task.
Having just finished my social work training I was still in tune
with the language used and expected by academic institutions, but
for colleagues who might have qualified more than 10 years ago this
has been an all together more difficult challenge.
My final task was a portfolio of evidence (PQ6) to demonstrate how
through my practice I have enabled others to develop their own
practice. There was quite a bit of freedom on how you can
demonstrate this; mostly people use their experience of
supervision, management or training.
It is always helpful in busy social work practice to take a step
back and look out of the gold fish bowl to reflect if and how we
are developing our practice.
But when do we get the time to do this?
How fair is it to ask already hard-working, under-pressure social
workers, many of whom don’t even have the time to even read
Community Care, to do additional work? Doing the PQ award has taken
me away from my casework and family commitments, both of which has
caused a level of frustration and resentment.
Nonetheless, I’m happy to have completed it. But don’t talk to me
Mark Sloman is a social worker, community mental health