NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

The Importance of Student Participation in the Social Work Profession

By Elisabeth Bridgewater, MSW, LCSW; NASW-NC Board of Directors Coastal District Representative

As social workers we are tasked with several duties at one time: advocate, therapist, mediator, role model, and one that I hold close to my heart is being a teacher.

Saturday September 15, 2012 was the first regular Board of Directors meeting.  Each year we attempt to encourage members to come and visit a meeting and experience your Board at work.  This year I am happy to say I was able to bring two East Carolina University (ECU) School of Social Work students to the table. Mind you, there was the promise of Field Hours in this trip, so I am not sure the choice was fully made on spending their precious Saturday with their Field Instructor!

Being on the NASW–NC Board of Directors has been a rewarding experience. As a member I am the “youngest” social worker at the table.  When I joined the Board, I was just shy of submitting for my clinical license and I had only been practicing for two years.  I was sitting at the table with a group or men and women who, collectively, had years of amazing experience.  I soon learned that being the “newbie” did not matter. We were and are all there for the same mission, NASW-NC’s mission To elevate professional social work practice in North Carolina.  Each member at that table is there to ensure that each member in North Carolina knows what NASW – NC is doing and what they could do to be a part.  Also at that table I learned, and continue to learn in my last year, about the political side of NASW–NC.  When Kay Paksoy, our lobbyist, comes to discuss what she is working on in Raleigh it makes me proud to know she is working on my behalf and representing the NASW Code of Ethics.

Dayna Farrington and Kristin Vandenbussche are both second year MSW students at ECU.  I have had the pleasure of supervising Dayna internally last year and I am externally supervising her this year.  Kristin and I were able to match due to situations out of her control at her previous agency, my win! Dayna is currently placed at Eastern Psychiatric and Behavioral Specialist in Greenville, NC where her focus in learning is on children and Autism spectrum disorders.  Kristin is placed at PORT Human Services, Adult Outpatient Clinic where her learning is focused on mental health and substance abuse in a community mental health clinic setting.  After her experience at the Board meeting, Kristin shared, “I really appreciated the opportunity to attend the meeting. It was a great opportunity to hear about everything going on and all of the work NASW is doing across the state.  I enjoyed meeting and networking with such an impressive group of professionals who made us feel very welcome.”   Both of these talented young women will graduate in May of 2013.

This is why I invite students to come to the meeting.  Not only do I ask them to come to a meeting, I ask them to take a seat at the table.  When a student is allowed to take a seat at the table they can begin to feel a part of the larger picture that is NASW. So, by bringing my students to the table I not only got to know them a little better, not only did they get field hours, they were an active part in the NASW–NC vision: To be a vital part of every professional social worker in North Carolina.

Find out who your NASW-NC Leadership is here.

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This entry was posted on September 28, 2012 by in Membership.

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