Faculty Respond to COVID-19: Reflections-on-Action in Field Education

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The field placement process has become increasingly challenging for schools of social work, particularly for large graduate programs situated in urban centers with competing schools. The unprecedented circumstances created by the COVID-19 public health crisis further strained the placement process, revealing a delicate balance of interdependent systems that schools must address when confronted with an unforeseen disruption of field education. This paper reflectively examines the steps taken by the field faculty and department of one large school of social work to address the impact of the pandemic on field education and its placement process. Utilizing crisis and shared trauma perspectives, the field disruptions, continuity of learning, contingency plans, and the attendant anxiety caused by COVID-19 are discussed, as are the lessons learned. Though COVID-19 has significantly altered the placement process, this reflective frame allows faculty to take the lessons emerging from the crisis and use them to improve services and learning opportunities for students in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Field education
  • Field placement
  • Pandemic response
  • Shared trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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