Sunday, December 29, 2013

Social Workers Needed to Deliver Tech-Focused CEUs


Approximately seven years ago the U.S. Bureau of Labor released a report indicating the Social Work profession was expected to grow by 25% by the year 2020. During this time many of us working in Social Work higher education saw consistent year-over-year increases in student applications for admission to BSW and MSW programs, resulting in healthy enrollment growth. In addition to increased student enrollment in older established programs, there was also an increase in the number of new Social Work programs. While the profession continues to grow, many new and mid-career Social Workers have expressed concern that training in contemporary issues and new treatment techniques rooted in technology use/abuse have not kept pace. I have written previously on this Blog and Twitter about the need to expose and formally train Social Work students about issues related to technology and new technology based practice modalities; nearly everyday I am astonished by the growing body of research related to the impact of technology on social functioning.  Although there is growing interest in the area of the influence of technology and social media on the Social Work profession, there continues to be a dearth of continuing education (CE) training opportunities related to these areas for licensed Social Workers.

The NASW Code of Ethics reminds us to practice in areas in which we are qualified; however, there are not adequate technology-focused CE programs, content in BSW/MSW programs, or post-degree certificate programs to adequately prepare social workers to practice in our ever-increasing technology infused culture. I have been a regular user of Twitter, Google+, Podcasts and other social media platforms for several years. There are now several technology communities of Social Workers using these media and I have found their posts educational, thought provoking, and even inspirational. Many of these tech-savvy Social Workers are employed by colleges/universities as faculty and administrators, a few are in direct practice. These Social Workers are scattered across the United States (and abroad) and share their knowledge through regular e-posts. 

I often find myself thinking how wonderful it would be to learn more about the information these trailblazing Social Workers share, and that I would be even willing to travel out-state to attend interesting CE trainings delivered by these amazing Social Workers. As we enter 2014, I would like to issue a personal challenge my fellow techie Social Workers to organize and create opportunities to share their knowledge with others through the development of quality, NASW approved CE workshops/conferences for Social Workers, by Social Workers. Given the quickly evolving world of technology and social media and its impact on mental health and social functioning, Social Workers are Needed to Deliver Tech-Focused CEUs! Let's get on-board!




2 comments:

  1. Nation's First Searchable Online & Mobile Database of Domestic Violence Programs

    Hello,

    I’m writing you to see if you would post a story or add a link to any resource pages on your blog about the launch of the country’s very first searchable online database of domestic violence programs. It’s called domesticshelters.org (http://www.domesticshelters.org/) and includes roughly all 3000 of the programs in the US.

    When someone visits, in a matter of seconds – from a desktop, smartphone or tablet – that person can find help closest to them based on their location, language and service preferences.

    I’m a college student helping out this worthy, breakthrough effort. This release (https://www.domesticshelters.org/news/site-launches-to-help-millions-of-abuse-victims-find-help-faster-easier-than-before) talks about the important strategic issues this new free non-profit service resolves. Succinctly put, finding help online has been too difficult up until now.

    The service is offered as a non-profit partnership between National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and a family charity, Theresa’s Fund. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and with 25% of women having experienced domestic violence, making your readers aware of this service is both timely and potentially life-saving.

    Appreciatively,
    Jason Fullen
    Social Work Student
    The Ohio State University
    fullen.40@osu.edu

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  2. Cyber Social Worker - Happy to find your blog and happy to find your call to action in this post. I am passing that call to action for more tech training on to psychologists and counselors, too!

    A music therapy student a few years back mentioned in passing that he considered a basic understanding of technology and social media to be issues of cultural competency!

    At 50-something years of age, I remember being taken aback for a moment when he said that and then . . . I realized that he is 100% correct.

    The population that is 10 or 20 years younger that me, easily communicates more often with online tools than they do with the telephone.

    And, then I think . . . there was a time, I'm sure when there was resistance to people using pen and paper to communicate rather than sending oral messages . . . .

    And, there was a time when I'm sure that "newfangled party line" of a telephone was challenging to trust and operate . . . .

    And, then there was the fax machine to learn . . . and the private telephones . . . and the cell phones . . . .

    I'm sure at each one of those technological advances we have heard / made the same arguments . . . "too expensive," "too hard to learn to use," "not trustworthy or safe," "not practical or convenient" to use.

    But, of course, over time, they have each become integrated (and now somewhat antiquated) in our professional lives.

    But, in their heydays you would have appeared "odd" or downright unethical to have practiced without them.

    Thank you for taking the time to make the observation that times have changed and our clients' needs require that we change, too.

    Roy Huggins blogs at the intersection of technology and mental health. You can find his blog Person-Centered Tech at www.PersonCenteredTech.com. He is a great one to provide training and engage in discussions that often overlap into this area. You might want to check him out.

    As for me, I'm happy to pass your blog along as an excellent and thoughtful resource!

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