The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of social work supervision. It will focus on why I would supervise an intern and how the experience would influence my style of supervision. The challenges that I am likely to experience and future development goals will also be discussed.
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I would supervise a social work intern to improve my effectiveness as a social worker. Interns bring new perspectives and ideas to the profession. Thus, I am likely to learn from them. I would also supervise an intern in order to improve my supervisory skills. Undoubtedly, interacting with interns provides invaluable opportunities for developing practical skills in areas such as giving instructions, coaching, counseling, and assessing performance (Cousins, 2004). I would also supervise interns as a way of giving back to the profession. Supervision would allow me to develop the profession by participating in the training of future social workers.
My experience with an intern would have a profound influence on my style of supervision. It would improve my creativity because supervisors are expected to use innovative supervision strategies to give interns a variety of insightful field instruction experiences. The experience would also enhance my attitude towards supervision and social work. I would have to be enthusiastic about social work to enable interns to develop a positive attitude towards the profession. Moreover, the experience would motivate me to develop a collaborative supervision style. I would be expected to collaborate with other supervisors, educators, and social work agencies to access adequate materials or resources to provide effective supervision (Smith, Russell, & Giddings, 2007).
Mentoring a student would influence my professional style by ensuring that I uphold high ethical and performance standards. Students view their mentors as role models in life (Smith, Russell, & Giddings, 2007). In this respect, my level of performance and integrity must be exemplary in order to inspire students. Mentoring would also improve my ability to provide support services. As a mentor, I must be available, eager to listen, and ready to encourage students. This will influence me to adopt a humanistic and empathetic approach to social work.
The challenges that I am likely to face in supervision include difficulties in establishing effective working relationships with interns. This challenge is likely to emerge in situations in which the intern is uncooperative. Lack of adequate learning resources is another challenge that is likely to limit my ability to supervise interns. The areas in which I feel competent to include providing information concerning various aspects of social work such as identifying clients’ problems. Moreover, I am competent in motivating and providing feedback to interns to enable them to excel in their careers.
One of my future development goals as a social work supervisor is to pursue a postgraduate course in leadership. The course will allow me to acquire the knowledge and skills that are required for effective use of authority during supervision. Another goal is to acquire cross-cultural communication skills. This will allow me to interact and develop effective working relationships with interns from diverse cultural backgrounds.
I would supervise interns to improve my supervisory skills and knowledge in social work. My experience with interns would influence my creativity and ability to collaborate with key stakeholders during supervision. Mentoring students would encourage me to maintain high standards of performance. In the future, I intend to acquire leadership and cross-cultural communication skills to be a better supervisor.
Cousins, C. (2004). Becoming a social work supervisor: A significant role transition. Australian Social Work, 57(2), 174-185.
Smith, C., Russell, R., & Giddings, M. (2007). Evaluating a social work supervision model in a real world child welfare setting. International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, 10(1), 10-26.