By an anonymous student
I’ve almost completed my final placement in a statutory setting and I’ll be glad to finish. I’ve felt unsupported, especially in my reflective learning/practice and being able to discuss situations. I would’ve liked to have been made to consider why I felt like I did at times; to have been questioned. Instead I’ve always had to initiate questioning and peer supervision and, if it wasn’t the right moment, it never happened. I was expecting to learn through having my ideas and assumptions challenged, but I feel like I have not progressed much at all.
I’m open to constructive criticism, because I want to learn and see things from another perspective. I keep a reflective diary, but I believe you need another person’s view point to help you make sense of what is happening and the feelings you encounter. I used to take my reflective diary with me to supervision and told my supervisor that she could look through it, hoping for some feedback. However, instead I was told that, when I qualify, I won’t have time to be reflective.
As a student, I expected to be supported; not spoon fed, but helped to build on my knowledge, skills and personal development. But, even though I didn’t have this experience, I am more determined than ever to do the best I can to make a difference – and I will not be persuaded that critical reflection is not an important part of good social work.
I have decided to look at the positives I can take away from this placement. By reflecting on the experience, I have come to realise what sort of social worker I want to be when I qualify. I now recognise what I consider to be good practice. I believe that good practice does involve critical reflection, discussion, talking and being aware of your feelings and the impact they can have on yourself and those you will be working with. It is about understanding how people function – not just service users, but social workers as well.
I’m absolutely determined that I will get a job in the area of my choice. I have prepared questions to ask potential interviewers about the support they can offer newly qualified social workers and what supervision will entail.