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ERIC Number: EJ949235
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0884-1233
Trauma Exposure and the Social Work Practicum
Didham, Steve; Dromgole, Laura; Csiernik, Rick; Karley, Mary Lou; Hurley, Dermot
Journal of Teaching in Social Work, v31 n5 p523-537 2011
In this study, 58 undergraduate and graduate students at 1 Canadian school of social work voluntarily completed a survey at the conclusion of their academic year consisting of open- and closed-ended questions intended to examine their exposure to trauma during the course of their field practice. The authors discovered that the majority of students entered the program having already experienced or been exposed to at least 1 significant traumatic incident. These ranged from verbal and sexual harassment, to having been stalked, to having experienced the death of a child or partner. Likewise, during their field practicum, the majority of these social work students experienced, or were exposed to, at least 1 incident that was emotionally or physically distressing. Although most instances neither occurred on a regular basis, nor had an overwhelming effect, a small number of social work students were exposed to traumatic incidents that were of significance to them. This fact was the result of the actions and behaviors not only of clients but also, in a few instances, of their field instructors or faculty consultants. In total, there were 52 significant or severe events reported by the 58 participants. They stated that changes in sleeping, eating, concentration, psychoactive substance use, confidence, and academic performance all occurred as a result of attending practicum. Hence, it might be beneficial for students and field instructors if schools of social work had specific curriculum and activities to assist in preparing for the emotional elements of field practice before beginning the practicum. Also, formal mechanisms to assist students in debriefing and responding to these incidents perhaps should be core components of every school of social work's curriculum. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada