Game Change, Good Change

                                                                                          One of the paths to walk with a beautiful view of mountains and trees

  Medical social work zone

For all the concrete around the hospital, there is this lovely little grass path that we can walk to feel

the sun-warmed grass brush against our ankles on the way to and from work. Comforting for a country girl…


I’m walking a different path to my practicum setting, because I changed practicum settings.
A big change? Definately, and not one that was stress-free, but one that has been very positive for me.
Sometimes, despite all of our best intentions, preparation and planning, things just don’t develop the way we hope they will. The challenge in this (among many challenges!) is ultimately seeing that this can be for the best.
As a fourth year student, in the last phase of my degree, I wanted to establish new, critical AOP social work skills, deepen existing ones and explore new areas of growth and challenge (not to mention being challenged and pursuing growth in existing areas). A new venue for my own learning was in order.
My amazing UVIC practicum liaison, Cheryl Moir-van Iersel, helped me negotiate the switch when I was concerned that my learning objectives were not being met in the initial placement. Maybe my learning goals were too lofty, but I am committed to them as a student-learner: after all, for me, this learning is what my degree is all about. It’s the reason why I pay tuition and dedicate myself to my coursework. Even if it took another term, another payment of tuition, I was willing to put postpone graduation another four months to find the environment I needed.
Fate played a role, I think, when I met an amazing Interior Health social worker who, after a day together, agreed to be my field supervisor.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been: revelling in full-on learning and amazing mentorship and supervision; carrying an active caseload of about a dozen diverse clients; working within two large multi-disciplinary care teams and generally enjoying being really happy in my work and learning.
My learning objectives (near and dear to my heart) are being met, surpassed and expanded…
This, for me, is what the UVIC 4th year BSW practicum experience is all about.

My gratitude to so many people from my wonderful ‘solidarity team’ composed of family, friends, teachers, mentors, fellow UVIC BSW students and co-workers.

A special thanks to dedicated UVIC instructor and liaison Cheryl Moir-van Iersel who really put in extra effort to see me through to a sweet place for learning.

~ You are all amazing! ~


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aimee
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 20:50:21

    Hi Tammy,

    I’m sure you are enjoying your post-degree bliss. Congratulations! I was wondering if maybe you could post a blog or maybe write me a short email giving a few more details of your role with Interior Health? I would greatly appreciate it. That is the avenue I’d like to pursue after my degree (it will be a few years from now!). I live in a small community in BC as well, and Interior Health is one of the largest employers in our area. Beyond that, an interdisciplinary approach to health care is what appeals most to me about working in as a social worker in a health care setting. I know, at least in my community, that social work is a new aspect to the approach, and I’m very quite interested in learning more about a social workers role with Interior Health specifically and in a health care setting generally.


    • learnfromafar
      Oct 24, 2012 @ 02:49:48

      Hi Aimee!
      thank you kindly for your comment. The best of luck to you in your future career as a social worker!
      The best suggestion I could give to you would be to explore doing your practicum placement(s) within the system you would like to eventually work within, if possible. That way you can learn about system processes as well as meet many people already working in that setting.
      If you are curious about the SW role within IH in your area, perhaps the best person(s) to speak with would be a Professional Practice Lead (PPL) or Team Leader (TL) who is a social worker.
      Thanks so much and kind regards,


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