BU academics contribute to social work textbook

Senior researchers from BU have had their work published in a new student handbook which has been adopted as a key or supplementary text by over 100 social work departments in the UK.

Newly Qualified Social Workers: A Handbook for Practice takes a practical look at the transition from student to practitioner and covers applying for a first post and managing the first years of practice, including specific guidance on topics such as induction, supervision and post-qualifying awards.

The authors include 13 academics from the Centre for Social Work & Social Policy within BU’s School of Health & Social Care (HSC).

Ivan Gray, Senior Lecturer in Practice Development, stresses the importance of induction providing “a firm foundation for [students’] future practice” and proposes several dimensions: establishing relationships with immediate team and supervisor; building relationships with those who will support practice both within and outside the organisation; clarifying role and responsibilities and any procedures to follow; and identifying and mobilising resources to provide support in a role.

Kate Howe, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, highlights the emotional stresses faced by newly qualified social workers and offers advice on emotional self-management and responding to and managing conflict effectively. Reliable supervision and setting achievable goals, for example, can help manage stressful situations. Howe also recommends prioritising workloads so as not to “deplete your energy”.

Further into the book, Anne Quinney, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, focuses on team-working and the ability to function on an inter-professional, multi-disciplinary or inter-agency basis. She refers to the importance of trust and respect, the sharing of information and being able to communicate, listen, manage and lead effectively.

The importance of newly qualified social workers contributing to service quality and development is also reiterated by Professor Jonathan Parker, Director of the Centre for Social Work & Social Policy and Associate Dean of HSC. One of the key areas he touches on is problem-solving and how this can contribute not only to service improvement but also team/organisation development.

Commenting on the response to the book, Dr Keen said: “On the back of wanting to make more of a difference with our newly qualified social worker research in the South West, Ivan Gray first had the idea of producing this handbook. Eighteen months later, we’re delighted with the impact this text has made – it’s been a real BU team effort