Friday, October 12, 2012

Out of the Silos and into the Fields

This morning the MA Chapter of NASW convened its biannual meeting with the Deans and Directors of the MSW and BSW Schools of Social Work in Massachusetts. This is a wonderful group that meets twice a year to provide updates on each school’s activities, plan joint projects, and be fully educated on trends in practice and academia. Besides covering the major happenings in the 2012 Payment Reform system, this morning’s session highlighted trends that Hospital Social Work Departments are seeing in the preparation of students to work in health care (hospital)) as well as the readiness of graduates to take jobs in hospitals. The conversation was enlightening as well as the variations that both groups are witnessing.

The exchange was a perfect example of the value for groups to move out of their ‘silos’. In this case, academia and practice met on the playing ‘field’—the scholars and the practitioners broke the proverbial bread and the menu was rich and satisfying. Representatives from the schools heard what the Hospital Social Work Directors are wanting the schools to cover in their curricula and conversely, the Social Work Directors heard how the academic community is challenged to provide in an already overfilled curriculum. The conversation was intense and enlightening.

Out of this meeting of colleagues came a plan for the two groups to meet more formally, to possibly plan a summit that would address contemporary learning and practice needs of social work students and graduates and the critical necessity of bringing the field supervisors into the conversation. The results were thrilling and part of the reason that makes my job so totally satisfying and on my toes. There is always more to learn and do. And always more that is possible. This is why I call my monthly column in the Chapter’s newsletter, “Leading from Possibility."

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