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The purpose of this essay is to offer the reader examples of my understanding in personal and professional development. The discussions of two ethical dilemmas, offered by comments on ways of dealing with them are included. It will further conclude with an evaluation of my support and supervision during the practice placement setting.
My self-awareness resulted through childhood difficulties. In the gradual process of maturing I have become more conscious of my inner feelings, attitudes and thoughts, and through relating more to myself I have become a well-informed person. Individuals entering Social Work choose this career because similarities exist with other people, service users. However, to practice I should not dwell on personal experiences (Lishman, Adams, Dominelli & Payne, 2009), and should move into brushing up my skills. Having natural ability is good, but in an ever changing world and reform of Social Services growing new awareness’s and understandings is good.
The process of professionally developing derived from learning my own internalisation, absorption and the way in which I accepted a certain situation. For example, I observed another worker meet a mother and during the gathering of information she delivered her questions and explanations clearly. This was acceptable to the mum; she appeared relaxed and had no need to ask for further confirmation. My approaches seemed complicated and unsatisfactory at that point. I wanted change and felt motivated to try this workers method. In a different meeting conducted only by me I adopted the approach and incorporated it within my interaction. This was a better way to conduct an interview. I relayed my experience to the manager and through speaking to him I finally realised the connection between personal and professional development.
In realising that I gained professional development through observing another I found myself wondering where else I could develop. Without trying I went into another colleague’s office to pass a message onto her and by chance I noticed an aspect of her office organisation to be a better than mine. In an unconscious and instant comparison I realised my office organisation was not as well set out. My rearrangement of office resulted out of an unplanned observation. I was not only able find inspiration in others, but to find it when not expecting too surprised me. In adopting this better way I was able prioritise my workload by viewing what was in front of me, plus by pinning my notes on a desktop board I could write my notes without wading through paperwork.
Enhancing my professionality through conscious and unconscious internalisation processes it has allowed me to replace the once known displaced professional work related knowledge and skills to a newer and even more superior professional work related knowledge and skills. By growing I have learnt to reducate myself and by updating my beliefs and values I can be proactive, overcome faults, weaknesses and insecurities.
Social Workers work relentlessly toward enhancing all people’s wellbeing, offering a large focus on meeting needs and empowering the vulnerable, oppressed and those suffering from poverty. Modern day professionals must observe environmental forces as they can make, and add to pressures already endured by clients. To end discrimination, oppression, poverty and social injustices Social Workers implement a Code of Ethics throughout all working practices. The embracing of core values, ethical principles and ethical standards assists Social Workers to make decisions and behave accordingly when faced with ethical dilemmas.
During the practice placement a child required support. He was experiencing behavioural problems resulting from sexual abuse. To provide support for this child I was required to meet with the mother and do a screening report. During contact I presented an information sharing form, an explanation of the service, its purpose and usefulness. This was to inform the mother of her rights and allow for an insight into the charity, and its services. The child was asked to be absent as I wanted to get the mum’s perspective on things. In gathering background information Mum disclosed that her son was partially blind and required specialist Braille books.
On return to the service and disclosure of my findings to the Children Service Manager I was told we had no reading materials suitable for this type of disability, therefore the provision of services could not be offered. It was felt that we could not meet his needs and a more specialised service should be found. This did not sit well with me. The child was being discriminated against because we did not have specialised materials.
To reduce any possible conflict I let the conversation die down before approaching the subject again. Meanwhile, I thought of ways in which the child could be included within the service. In another meeting with the CSM I recommended that we ask to borrow a selection of materials from the mother. The CSM agreed. In a phonecall the mother agreed. She was elated. The child went on to have non-directive play and I was later informed that through use of the books brought from his home he had felt comfortable enough to disclose some of his bad memories. The service believed this to be a worthwhile cause and later purchased materials, staffs have signed up for new training.
Another instance, Social Workers may often be oppressed within an organisation. I found myself within such a scenario. My placement began with an allocated Practice Teacher/Link Supervisor and our relationship begun to develop positively. Sadly a staff member died and shock hit the team. I briefly knew the woman, but for others they worked closely with her for years. I distanced myself and waited on the grieving process beginning, but it never appeared. “Healing from a loss involves coming to terms with the loss and the meaning of the loss in your life” (Family Doctor.org, 2009). The effects of losing the valuable team member and friend caused my Practice Teacher/Link Supervisor to withdraw from the group, she became quiet and non-engaging!
I had to learn, but with no experience in working with children I too found myself lost in the process and did not know which way to turn. The Practice Teacher/Link Supervisor was my first port of call and whilst empathising with her situation I had approach her. She acted coldly, therefore any further approaches made me feel awkward and stressed. This continued for a fortnight and something had to give.
In understanding the relationship between and among people change is sometimes required. I met with the CSM and aired my concerns. I believed I was not being treated fairly, nor respected. The CSM emailed all staff with the Five Step Programme Personal Life Changes. I put my head down and got on with my work, but still the atmosphere did not change. If anything the once friendly attitudes from everyone changed. Being in this situation I fully understand how one person can influence others and how group dynamics can change. The conflict was not resolved and for workers to forget their roots in practice says a lot. This example has taught me to remember the Code of Ethics when working with clients, but also to incorporate them into my work when working with colleagues.
Planned informal and formal supervision did not occur during the infancy stages of my learning. It can be argued that poor management was to blame. Once structures were in place it was time to explore my practice, my time to learn, a time to facilitate my growth. During preparation for supervision a requirement to select experiences for discussion scared the hell out of me, and in not having supervision previously what would I take? Armed with a planned agenda I entered what seemed to be the war zone (1st formal supervision).
Encouraged to discuss my experiences I slowly began, during explanations there appeared to be an unsettling period. My own experiences were surfacing which resulted in an awkward fidgetiness. When quizzed I denied the reason. I did not want to appear incapable of my job. I breathed deeply and moved on. Confidence returned and I finalised my explanations. Achieving what could have been disastrously resulted in my first attempt to separate personal from professional experiences.
Standing as a professional in other supervisions I reflected on experiences. It was like looking in a mirror, strengths and weakness became visible. Strengths were praised, but weakness required work, one weakness meant the return to literature. Applying knowledge to practice is one thing, but to understand what that knowledge is can be another thing. To apply my understanding I put my evidence into written pieces of work.
During the review of my work it led to judgement. I was told ‘work situations can be complex at times, but only if you allow them to be. Keep things clear and simple’. My recognition of this phrase meant that I was being coached to identify thought processes and move from being ignorant to understanding. Feedback like this was good because not only was I learning to reflect, but I was also motivated to alter my future thinking.
The contribution of support and supervision proved to be valuable, despite it being offered half through the placement. I recognise that self-awareness is part of the reflective process. To have my values and beliefs heard allowed me to become a happier worker; it also allowed change in the way I practised. With the willingness to accept positive and negative feedback I was able to adapt the way in which I thought. Nearer the end of placement it benefitted my practice and reduced the amount of support that I once required.
To progress in a professional manner I will take forward all feedback and my skills developed during supervision. The important thing to capture is the experience and to learn from it. I will look at the bigger picture and through evaluation I can break down my strengths and weakness, and in recognising my weakness I can self as a better Practioner. This process has helped me to achieve a rewarding experience, and one I am keen to continue with into practice. It can benefit not only to me, but clients and colleagues also.
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