On 8 November, social work students presented group program packages to partner agencies, as part of a third year student project that has run yearly since 2010 and has now produced 28 group programs.
Partner agencies this year included the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Mental Health and Substance Use Unit, Newcastle Sexual Assault Service, Port Stephens Community Options, Raymond Terrace Neighbourhood Centre and Youth Health Team, Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People, St George Community Mental Health and Westmead Children’s Hospital.
The students worked in teams with the partner agencies to create group programs for specific client groups. Each student team produced a program package to guide implementation, including an overview of relevant theory and research, session outlines, facilitator information and supporting documents.
“Knowing our group program would be used in a ‘real-life’ context was a very rewarding and engaging experience as a student,” said third year student Felicity Collis.
Felicity worked with John Hunter Hospital’s Renal Unit to develop ‘Plot Twist’ – a group program for young people on dialysis, an experience she found inspiring and captivating.
“The project not only broadened my perspective academically in terms of working with groups and organisations, it allowed me to study a field of practice which is quite specialised as well as explore the impact Chronic Kidney Disease has on the lives of many young people,” Felicity said.
Another program called MATES was developed by students with Wyong Hospital’s Specialist Mental Health Services for Older People in collaboration with Aged and Disability Support Services Inc. MATES is designed to help older men who are experiencing depression and social isolation.
Student Eliza Richards enjoyed working in the project team made up of students, working independently for six weeks to design the pilot program that will be implemented next year.
“The agency were easy to work with, and were so pleased we were interested in issues that affect older people,” Eliza said.
The Third Year Students Group Program Development Project develops social work student knowledge and skills, builds and sustains relationships with local human service agencies, and contributes to social work practice.