Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Making It Work - social work education in NHS settings

Keywords: practice learning, social work placements in NHS settings, inter-professional learning, developing new practice learning opportunities

Authors: Ms Marianne Hughes (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council), Ms Debbie Lowson (Substance Misuse Services NHS Lothian), Ms Willma Easton (Scottish Drugs Forum)

The Confidence in Practice Learning Policy paper (Scottish Executive 2003) provided the catalyst for Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council Practice Teaching Unit (PTU) to explore and develop the expansion of Practice Learning into NHS settings where historically there has been a lack of Social Work presence e.g. Local Authority Social Workers. This Executive Policy paper, operating in parallel with the new Social Work Degree (2003), stipulated an increase in ìquality, quantity and diversityî for Social Work Practice Learning, and the new Social Work degree required increased ìinter-professionalî working by Social Work students.

The development work had four phases:

The workshop will actively involve participants in identifying the challenges and ways forward in each of these stages, from the points of view of the Student, the Practice Teacher and the Agency Manager. The material from the participants will be discussed alongside an analysis of the specific experiences of a Social Work Practice Learning Opportunity within the NHS West Lothian Substance Misuse Services (in 2006 and 2007).

The analysis will provide three perspectives. The Social Work student's perspective as the person making use of the new Practice Learning opportunity; the Practice Teacher's perspective as the person who undertook the development work and supervised and assessed the student's practice; and the Agency Manager's perspective as the person who allocated the work and managed the team within which the Social Work student was based.

The key aspects for a successful partnership between Social Work Education and NHS Practice Settings will be highlighted using participants own direct experiences and the experiences of the workshop leaders.

The new Social Work degree plus Scottish Executive policy initiatives encourage inter-professional working. Developing new Practice Learning opportunities for SW students within NHS settings requires identifying committed managers, networking, in-depth discussion of obstacles and time. The experiences of the SW student within practice learning unfamiliar with SW is challenging & inter-professional working between Clinical Nurse Manager and Practice Teacher vital for positive learning. This contribution includes the voice of the Student, the Clinical Nurse Manager, the Practice Teacher and it is interactive with participants.


Date: Friday 25 January 2008, 11.30-12.30

Venue: Harris Two

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).