Preparedness for field education placement: social work students' experiences in Papua New Guinea

Catherine Anne Flynn, John Kamasua, Kerry Anne Brydon, Dunstan Lawihin, Tara Kornhauser, Esther Grimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Papua New Guinea is seen by many to be one of the most troubled countries in the world today; it is challenged by infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, by violence-both in the home and in the broader community-as well as by the difficulties associated with responding to communities who are largely rural, remote and inaccessible. It is in this context that the profession of Social Work exists and in which students undertake their fieldwork practicum. The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) is the primary provider of Social Work education in the country. This small study sought to investigate third-year UPNG Social Work students reflections on their first fieldwork experience and their perceptions of preparation. Twenty-three students provided data via a written questionnaire. Content analysis revealed that most students felt only just prepared for placement. While many highlighted the value of communication skills to them during fieldwork, there was considerable uncertainty about the role and nature of Social Work, with administrative duties seeming to dominate. Students were, however, clear about improvements; these focused primarily on the sequencing of the curriculum, to ensure that they had covered core learning materials prior to placement. The implications for practice and the challenges to implementation are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435 - 450
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this