Work placement a Win-Win for UWA Master’s students and Identitywa
“I’ve had many lessons, many experiences and heard many stories. It feels like entering a whole new world with a new direction to discover. This experience will be remembered and I am sure will follow me along on my journey to become a social worker.” UWA Master’s student, Andrea.
It was in May 2017 when The University of Western Australia’s School of Social Work and Social Policy approached Identitywa with an invitation to host two students as part of their Masters of Social Work program.
Identitywa regularly has students undertaking additional work experience or volunteering their services, so was well placed to support the students. With a number of research projects underway, the opportunity to have additional assistance was enthusiastically welcomed.
Conversely, the chance to gain ‘hands-on’ experience was greatly valued by students, Andrea and Esta. During their time they had the chance to work on four different projects alongside a variety of staff across Identitywa’s services including in the community and shared accommodation.
Identitywa Business Development Manager, Jacquie Daisley, coordinated their time with Identitywa.
“Esta and Andrea gained valuable insights into the range of different roles within Identitywa, particularly how these roles interconnect to culminate in the high quality support for individuals and their families Identitywa is known for,” explains Jacquie.
“For example, they assisted our Clinical Nurse to progress an Advance Care Plan initiative we are currently rolling out. This important plan helps people to think through, and detail, their wishes for care at the end of their life.”
As part of the initiative, a special afternoon tea was hosted for individuals and their families where Esta and Andrea introduced the concept of advance care planning.
“With most participants interested in learning more, we followed up the event with visits to shared living houses, working with individuals and their families/ guardians to create their own Advance Care Plan,” said Esta.
The students also helped to promote an understanding of Australia’s electronic health database, My Health Record.
“My Health Record is an online government database which stores an individual’s health information,” explains Andrea. “We conducted research on how it can benefit people and then created a brochure to assist individuals and family members to set up and manage their My Health Record.”
Jacquie saw the whole experience as a Win-Win. “The additional assistance of the students provided a real boost in progressing the implementation of some initiatives we’ve been working on. An added bonus was that both Esta and Andrea are enthusiastic and kind natured – just delightful to have around!” she said.
For Esta, her Identitywa experience was also very positive. “The chance to have my first placement in Identitywa is a gift. From the time I arrived until the end of the placement, it has been wonderful,” said Esta.
Andrea agrees: “My time at Identitywa has been the highlight of my social work learning journey so far. I am thankful and believe that wherever social work takes me, I will always be an advocate for people with disability.
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