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Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) - Inherent Requirements

Behavioural stability

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding role over an extended period of time.

2

Student demonstrates behavioural stability over time to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and social work practice environment.

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Social work students will be exposed to highly complex human situations and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events over an extended period of time.
4

Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and field placement settings.

5

Exemplars:

  • Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback.
  • Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in all settings.
  • Engaging in strategies to promote mental health and self-care as a social work student.

Communication - verbal

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Verbal communication, in English, is fundamental to social work and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non- judgmental.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Be sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences.
  • Understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner.
  • Communicate clearly as appropriate to the context of the situation.
  • Provide timely and clear feedback and reporting.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others is required to develop trusting and professional social work relationships.
  • Communication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions).
  • Pace and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety or assessment.
  • Timely, accurate and effective delivery of information is necessary to provide safe professional social work intervention.
4

Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues without compromising the appropriate and safe provision of social work services while on field placement.

5

Exemplars:

  • Participating in tutorial, workshop and field placement discussions.
  • Responding appropriately in an interview in the field placement setting.

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Communication - nonverbal

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Nonverbal communication is fundamental to social work and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues.
  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours.
  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust and rapport building in academic and social work practice relationships.
  • Being sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships that are essential for effective social work service delivery.
  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for effective observation of client reactions to facilitate assessment and to provide social work services.
4

Adjustments must enable the recognition, assessment, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely, safe and appropriate manner.

5

Exemplars:

  • Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situations.
  • Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the field placement environment.

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Communication - written

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Respectful written communication, in English, is a fundamental social work student responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.

2

Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication, including on social media, as appropriate to the circumstances.

3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Written communication must display respect and empathy in order to develop professional social work relationships.
  • Construction of written text-based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice standards.
  • Accurate written communication, including record keeping, community meeting records, case notes, emails and social media communications, is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and social work services in the field placement context.
4

Adjustments must allow the students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and practice settings.

5

Exemplars:

  • Constructing an essay to academic standards.
  • Constructing a social work report in a timely manner that meets professional standards.
  • Using social media (e.g. Facebook) and emails in a way that is respectful of all parties.

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Knowledge and cognition

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide professional and competent social work practice.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Locate appropriate and relevant information.
  • Process information relevant to practice.
  • Integrate and implement knowledge in practice.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Safe and effective social work practice is based on knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately.
  • A demonstrated defined range of knowledge and cognitive skills is a requirement for course accreditation, field placements an d ethical practice as a social worker.
4

Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded.

5

Exemplars:

  • Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.
  • Appropriately applying knowledge of policy and procedures in the field placement setting.

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Literacy

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective social work services.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Acquire information and accurately convey appropriate and effective messages.
  • Read and comprehend a range of literature and information.
  • Construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, intervention and professional support.
  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective social work practice in the field placement context.
4

Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information.

5

Exemplars:

  • Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively in a field placement setting.
  • Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic and/or professional practice conventions.
  • Producing accurate, concise and clear case notes which meets legal and professional practice requirements.

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Relational skills

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Social work practice requires the ability to make and maintain purposeful relationships with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers.
  • Use interpersonal skills and empathy to maintain professional relationships.
  • Engage and relate appropriately in individual and group professional supervision and experiential learning groups.
  • Negotiate changes in circumstances, differences in views and conflict situations.
  • Understand power in relationships and the potential for misuse of power (e.g. bullying).
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Well developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective relationships that permit effective social work assessment and intervention.
4

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable level of effective relational skills.

5

Exemplars:

  • Rapidly building rapport with a client in order to engage them in an assessment while on field placement.
  • Effectively using relational and interpersonal skills to manage relationships with clients while on field placement, as well as with university staff.
  • Ensuring that feedback is provided in the correct forum and in a way that sustains academic and professional relationships.

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Critical reflective skills

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Social work practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for critical reflection in order to consider the effect of one's own issues, actions, values and behaviours on practice.

2

Student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Accurately reflect on their professional performance.
  • Accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Participation in professional supervision is a key teaching strategy in social work education which requires a well-developed understanding of oneself and one’s impact on others.
  • Working with clients while on field placement and understanding and responding to them requires well developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise.
4

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate critical and personal reflection.

5

Exemplars:

  • Identifying when a practice issue is outside one's scope or expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions.
  • Drawing on professional knowledge, rather than solely personal experience, to inform practice.
  • Using supervision to ensure the effective use of self.

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Sustainable performance

LevelInherent requirement statement
1

Social work practice requires cognitive, emotional and physical performance at a consistent and sustained level.

2

Student demonstrates:

  • Consistent and sustained level of cognitive, emotional and physical capacity to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time.
  • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time.
3

Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient cognitive, emotional and physical resilience is needed to perform tasks in an assigned period to provide effective, safe and professional support in the social work practice context.
4

Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.

5

Exemplars:

  • Appropriately participating in tutorials, workshops, skills laboratories, and residentials.
  • Providing consistent social work services in two field placements within specified time frames.

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