A Mixed Methods Examination of MSW Student Satisfaction With Integrated Behavioral Health Field Placements
Keywords:student satisfaction, integrated health, field placements
Social workers must be prepared to work effectively within systems that attempt to maximize coordination where integrated behavioral health care is provided. Current students are the profession’s pipeline to the behavioral health workforce. If social work students are dissatisfied with the training they receive in integrated health care settings, they may be deterred from interprofessional collaborative practice. This study examined MSW students’ satisfaction with integrated behavioral health field placement experiences. Thirty-three students completed an online survey that asked about factors associated with field placement satisfaction, and nine of these students participated in two focus groups to explore other aspects of the field setting that influenced satisfaction. Survey results revealed that as role ambiguity increased, student satisfaction decreased. Focus group findings uncovered that the profession’s influence within the field setting and the presence of support by professionals from other disciplines promoted students’ satisfaction. These results suggest that educators should help students develop skills in tolerating role ambiguity and asking for role clarification as part of supervision when placements are in these settings. MSW faculty and field education directors may want to collaborate with integrated behavioral health providers to assess organizational climate and identify ways to foster inclusive interprofessional collaborative practices and a culture of cross-profession respect.
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