Reflective practice, in any profession, is constantly monitoring your performance and adjusting where needed. This comes not only from work performed but also from learning new things and potentially new guidelines from governing boards or government authorities. Social work can be fluid as each case is unique but understanding why things happened the way they did in one case may help you better assist another.
In social work, reflective practice is especially important as the work directly impacts the lives of others. In social work, you must be able to adapt to changing aspects, from environments to people, and expand on the knowledge gained. This expansion allows the social worker to perform at their best and helps them be a role model for others in their field.
The four key steps for reflective practice:
- Look back at the situation or experience.
- Think in depth about your experience.
- Learn, and describe what you learned about yourself or your role.
- Plan what you will do next.
All four of these steps apply to social work and reflective practice. It can be a good idea to write these steps down as you go through them to better grasp the situation and what you can take from it. In planning what to do next, this is where you will adapt to the situation and make any adjustments needed to help yourself and your clients going forward.
Social workers advocate for disadvantaged individuals, groups, and families by serving as a voice for equality. By using reflective practice, social workers can ensure they are constantly improving their talent for helping others and always performing at their best. This performance can help you excel in the field and learn how to anticipate and prepare for situations before they even occur.
Reflective practice can also apply to your life outside of social work. Perhaps you have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in another field and are now looking at social work as a career opportunity. Maybe you already have a degree in social work but want to expand your knowledge. Either way, a degree through the online social work program from Spalding University may be right for you.
Spalding University’s accredited MSW (master’s in social work) program offers a good example of the flexible and inclusive solutions available to those looking to return to school. After graduation, many universities also offer career placement services to help graduates find a position in social work. How long the program takes is entirely up to you, as little as one year for full-time students, and two years for part-time students. It is always best to do your research and find the best course to suit your needs.
Whether you are just starting to consider social work as a career or have been contemplating the change for a while, obtaining a degree has never been more convenient.