The purpose of this blog is to explain how evaluation might be addressed during field education experience. As social workers help clients reach their goals, the process of evaluation serves as a significant measure for identifying and understanding improvements. Evidence is used to evaluate and modify social work practice under professional supervision.
The evaluation process is an integral part of evidence-based practice (EBP). EBP might be defined as a “decision-making process integrating best research evidence, practitioner expertise, and client or community characteristics” according to the organizational system and context (Wharton & Bolland, 2012, p. 158). Evidence-based evaluation, involving relevant research, current professional guidelines, and individual client input, can help the social worker employ the most effective practices and select complex or simple intervention strategies (Thyer, 2013). The ability to interpret research data, and obtain and evaluate information from peer/supervisor consultation, education, and Internet sources, allows the social worker to improve practice outcomes through the use of evidence.
Field education experience involves working with a supervisor who assists in applying theory to practice and improving implementation. In the practicum context, evaluation is a tool for helping the social work student demonstrate accountability under supervision (Laureate Education, 2013). Agency supervisors fulfill the educational function by providing orientation/training, monitoring function by evaluating the performance of social workers and practicum students, and supportive function by maintaining morale, resolving conflicts, and encouraging teamwork and commitment (Garthwait, 2017). Supervisors engage in ethical and professional communication with students and promote EBP, best practices, and standards of care to ensure meaningful guidance and direction vital for professional development.
In conclusion, evaluation might be addressed by integrating the EBP approach into the practicum program, allowing students to interpret and assess evidence from a variety of sources and apply the knowledge in social work practice. Working under professional supervision is an essential aspect of field education experience and integration of theory and practice. Thus, supervisors train students to provide the highest quality of care through EBP and expertise in professional standards and best practices.
Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Pearson.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Evaluation [Audio file]. Web.
Thyer, B. A. (2013). Evidence-based practice or evidence-guided practice: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet [Invited response to Gitterman & Knight’s “evidence-guided practice”]. Families in Society, 94(2), 79–84. Web.
Wharton, T. C., & Bolland, K. A. (2012). Practitioner perspectives of evidence-based practice. Families in Society, 93(3), 157–164. Web.