Orientation of Students to Field

Students should be given a comprehensive orientation to the placement and to the agency as well immediately upon their arrival. Supervisors should plan to greet the student on the first day of their internship and introduce them to as many of the staff as possible. It is preferable for the supervisor to inform appropriate personnel in advance of the student’s placement and advise them of ways the staff can participate in the student’s learning experience.

It is also important for students to have a work area that allows them to feel like a professional and an integral part of the agency structure. A desk, access to a telephone, and appropriate work supplies should be provided for the student before they begin the placement.

It is also recommended that the following items and procedures be provided in the orientation material in writing to all students by the agency and/or supervisor.

Orientation Content

  1. A written orientation schedule outlining dates and times of agency orientation, in addition to content to be covered.
  2. Written expectations concerning dress requirements, leave time and holidays, attendance requirements, etc.
  3. Specific agency information concerning administrative structure with names and titles of administrative staff, financial structure, pertinent policies and procedures, etc.
  4. Information concerning insurance requirements by agency and insurance coverage provided (i.e., professional liability, workman’s compensation, automobile insurance if clients are to be transported by student).
  5. Specific agency recording requirements. Provide copies of all forms in addition to outlines for intake, psychosocial assessments, transfer forms, social history and diagnostic summaries, and all other required reports.
  6. Written statement of how student is to identify self in (1) written recording in agency records; (2) written reports, correspondence, and other written material; and (3) oral contacts with clients, families, and others.
  7. Confidentiality requirements of the agency and the profession. Provide written information on agency’s informed consent form and its use; information on privileged communication if it applies, information on what can and cannot be released without client’s consent; explanation of what to do if subpoenaed, etc.
  8. Written procedures for handling client emergencies (i.e., suicidal or homocidal threats, issue of duty to warn, etc.).
  9. Copy of agency personnel manual, including written procedures concerning student responsibilities, etc.
  10. Written description of agency security precautions and safety procedures.
  11. Expectations concerning supervision responsibilities, supervisory conference times, style and content of supervision provided, other pertinent supervision issues.
  12. NASW Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.