Gerard Jefferies' Confirmation Presentation

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Gerard Jefferies' Confirmation Presentation

We invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Gerard Jefferies, a Master of Social Work candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: Rigor in authentic pre-placement assessment to strengthen student practice capacity

Presenter: Gerard Jefferies

When: Friday, 10 August from 10am to 12nn

Where: Building E, 1.04 

Abstract: The incorporation of simulated learning into a pre-placement curriculum is designed to aid student preparation for practice. The fear and anxiety associated with an initial field placement undermines student confidence, and therefore the opportunities to practice the skills necessary for future professional practice is not utilised to full capacity. Reliable and effective methods to assess student competence are needed in social work education and practice. Examinations involving simulation may hold potential for the development of social work skills. The proposed research is situated within a university social work program involving entry-level social work students. The research is designed to provide students the opportunity to develop the skills necessary in an authentic environment without the risk of doing harm to clients.

Empathy is a core element of the helping professions and particularly important to social work practice. Empathy is a human capability that can be developed with guidance. This research evidences the connection between empathy and positive outcomes for service users via utilisation of authentic simulation activities consisting of relevant social work practice contexts, thus enhancing the cultivation of skills among students for future practice.

Despite the increasing pressure to measure social work practice skills and to relate those activities to client outcomes, relatively little social work research has been devoted to the development of social work process instruments. The aim of this research is to identify whether student knowledge and skills can be strengthened via interaction within the proposed simulated learning scenario, and to assess whether this approach has external face validity with experienced professional social workers. An assessment of various assessment techniques is undertaken before an evaluation of the efficacy of video-based simulated learning in the development of student capacity to practice. The research will compare and contrast the video based simulated learning with traditional written methods of simulation.

Three specific practice contexts to which students are regularly exposed as part of their social work placements have been identified as, suicide ideation, family and domestic violence and psycho-social supports. These domains are relevant to all fields of social work practice and will therefore provide the student an opportunity to practice skills relevant to their placement and future practice. The simulation activities will require students to conduct a brief assessment of the client within the scenario identifying key client issues. The assessment questions to be utilised by students within the simulation have been developed in consultation with social workers practicing and supporting student placements. The practitioners involved in the development of the assessment framework to be utilised by students within the simulation activities will also assess the extent to which simulated learning can be an effective tool in the professional education of social workers.

Bio: Gerard is the Field Education Coordinator for the Social Work and Human Services programs at the University of the Sunshine Coast. In this role, Gerard sources and coordinates field education placements for students engaged in the social work and human services degree programs. Gerard's previous experience includes government and non-government roles in mental health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth justice and homelessness. Gerard has a passion for developing the next generation of social work professionals and is an active member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Should you have any questions about this event please contact FABLHDR@usc.edu.au.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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