September 23, 2019

Northern Health welcomes social work students

Following on from completion of four 70 day Social Work Fieldwork Placements for Melbourne University, the social work team has recently warmly welcomed eight La Trobe University social work students to Northern Health.

Northern Health is a proud teaching hospital, contributing to the future of health care and shaping the next generation of health professionals. While wandering our corridors, you may come across these eager friendly faces.

Social work students have two placements during their studies both consisting of 70 days each (14 full-time weeks). Placements are lengthy to enable consolidation of core skills across learning areas such as values and ethics, organisational and community context, interpersonal skills, research and culturally sensitive practice.

Sarah Wotherspoon is the Social Work Clinical Educator who has one day per week dedicated to clinical education. Her role includes interviewing prospective students, allocating supervisors, developing group learning student timetables and supporting students and staff during placement. Sarah also acts as a conduit between the universities and the health service.

“Student group learning sessions are interactive and cover various topics such as psycho-social assessments, self-care, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, ethical dilemmas, loss and grief,” Sarah said.

“They are a great way to bring students together and facilitate group discussion and learning,” she added.

Students also have access to self-directed learning opportunities across core areas of clinical social work practice including family violence, children at risk, elder abuse and family meetings.

Feedback from previous social work students highlight the dedication of our social work department to provide a high quality placement experience.

“My supervisor suited me so well and really took the time to understand me. I felt we could discuss anything without judgement which is so important,” one student said.

“Even from my first interview coming into Broadmeadows Hospital, my supervisor was so welcoming and we came to agreements together about expectations and learning styles early on in placement. The whole team has been really lovely and open,” another student added.

In their final week of placement, students complete a case study presentation to the social work team. These presentations are a celebration of the completion of placement, and a positive way of highlighting the student’s growth and skill development, as well as integrating theories into the health context.

Featured Image: Sarah Wotherspoon (far left) with La Trobe social work students