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Advanced Generalist Competencies


Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS)


WKU Advanced Generalist Competencies

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COA) and Commission on Educational Policy (COEP) developed the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs. These standards form the basis for the WKU MSW Generalist Year Curriculum.

As part of these standards, each master’s social work program must design at least nine unique competencies that are used in the creation of their specialized year. Here at WKU, our specialty is Advanced Generalist Practice in Rural Settings. Our program faculty have developed nine (9) unique competencies that are the focus for the specialized year curriculum. Please review the competencies below to develop an understanding of the content that all WKU MSW students must master prior to graduation.

 

Core Competencies

In 2008 CSWE adopted a competency-based education framework for its EPAS. As in related health and human service professions, the policy moved from a model of curriculum design focused on content (what students should be taught) and structure (the format and organization of educational components) to one focused on student learning outcomes. A competency-based approach refers to identifying and assessing what students demonstrate in practice. In social work this approach involves assessing the students’ ability to demonstrate the competencies identified in the educational policy. (EPAS, 2015, p. 4)

Advanced generalist practitioners skillfully utilize the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that impact advanced practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Advanced generalist practitioners utilize ethical frameworks in practice, research, and policy arenas. Advanced generalist practitioners consider personal values and the distinction between personal and professional values. They also evaluate their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional judgment and behavior. Advanced generalist practitioners are grounded in the profession’s history, its mission, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Advanced generalist practitioners also recognize and support the role of other professions when engaged in inter-professional teams. Advanced generalist practitioners commit to life-long learning and to continually updating their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Advanced generalist practitioners responsibly manage emerging forms of technology and use of technology ethically in social work practice. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models of ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to a rural context;
  • Use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in rural practice situations;
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written and electronic communication both in rural communities and in practice settings;
  • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate advanced practice outcomes in rural settings; and
  • Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.
  • Actively participate in professional social work associations/organizations
  • Design and manage effective self-care strategies to reduce the likelihood of compassion fatigue and burnout.

Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings integrate their understanding of how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not limited to age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, geographic location, and tribal sovereign status. Advanced generalist practitioners understand that the rural practice context in which we serve further complicates the existing issues which may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels in rural settings;
  • Present themselves as learners and engage rural clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences;
  • Utilize self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse rural clients and constituencies; and
  • Analyze the holistic and systemic nature of problems in rural settings taking care to attend to the special factors of rurality such as dual relationships, inadequate transportation, extreme poverty, difficult access to health care, and disenfranchisement from political processes.

Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings are catalysts for freedom, safety, privacy, biopsychosocial spiritual needs, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education for every person regardless of position in society. Advanced generalist practitioners modify theories of human need and social justice for use in rural settings, and design strategies to eliminate oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods, rights, and responsibilities are distributed equitably and that civil, political, environmental, economic, social through strategic community organization and political advocacy. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Engage in practices which demonstrate critical analysis of the intersections of social, economic, and environmental justice in rural contexts; and
  • Advocate for appropriate resources and equal access to political, economic, and social power for rural clients.

Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings employ quantitative and qualitative research methods at their respective roles in promoting evidence based practice and in program evaluation. Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings understand the purpose and process of utilizing a logic model, scientific inquiry, and culturally informed and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Advanced generalist practitioners understand that evidence-based practice comes from multi-disciplinary sources and multiple ways of knowing. They integrate the processes for translating research findings into effective practice. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Use practice experience and theoretical underpinning of evidence-based practice models to inform scientific inquiry and research;
  • Apply advanced level critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and
  • Integrate and adapt research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy and service delivery in rural settings.

Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policy and its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Advanced generalist practitioners understand the history and current structure of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Advanced generalist practitioners understand their leadership role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Advanced generalist practitioners recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. Advanced generalist practitioners provide leadership and support natural leaders present in advocating for policies advantageous to rural areas. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services in rural settings;
  • Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services in rural areas; and
  • Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice in rural settings.

Advanced generalist practitioners anticipate special challenges to engagement present in rural settings. They are equipped to address the closed nature of rural systems, the high level of interconnectedness in these settings, and the variable boundaries presented. The special nature of rural engagement is critical considering the challenge of dual relationships in rural areas. Effective use of personal and professional self demands that firm boundaries and limits are utilized. Advanced generalist practitioners possess a high level of self-awareness and understand how their personal experiences and reactions may impact their ability to effectively engage with diverse clients and constituencies in rural settings. Advanced generalist practitioners value principles of relationship-building, empathy, authenticity, the amplification of strengths, and inter-professional collaboration to facilitate engagement with rural clients, constituencies, and other professionals as appropriate. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with rural clients and constituencies; and
  • Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills at an advanced level to effectively engage diverse rural clients and constituencies ensuring informed consent.
  • Discern the most appropriate engagement strategy according to each practice context.

Advanced generalist practitioners approach assessment from a strengths based perspective focusing on resiliency and protective factors as a basis for interventions. Advanced generalist practitioners prioritize cultural values, traditions, and unique resources of rural settings by recognizing and validating the client’s contextual world view. Advanced generalist practitioners structure assessment as an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Biopsychosociospiritual assessments are a critical component of the overall assessment plan in rural settings. Advanced generalist practitioners critically evaluate and adapt theories of human behavior and the social environment and apply this knowledge in the assessment of diverse rural clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Advanced generalist practitioners utilize methods of assessment with diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Advanced generalist practitioners recognize the implications of the larger practice context in the assessment process and value the importance of inter-professional collaboration in this process. Advanced generalist practitioners consider how their personal experiences and affective reactions may impact their assessment and decision-making. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Collect and organize client-driven data, and skillfully apply critical thinking to interpret information from rural clients and constituencies;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from rural clients and constituencies;
  • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies in rural settings;
  • Modify appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of rural clients and constituencies; and
  • Consider aspects intrinsic in rural settings impacting assessment such as connections with church communities, neighbors, extended family, fictive kin, and other informal resources.

Advanced generalist practitioners approach intervention from a strengths based perspective focusing on resiliency and protective factors as an ongoing component of the dynamic interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Advanced generalist practitioners prioritize cultural values, traditions, and unique resources of rural settings by recognizing and validating the client’s contextual world view. Advanced generalist practitioners adapt evidence-informed interventions to achieve the goals of clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Advanced generalist practitioners critically evaluate and adapt theories of human behavior and the social environment and apply this knowledge to effectively intervene with rural clients and constituencies. Advanced generalist practitioners differentiate methods of identifying, analyzing and implementing evidence-informed interventions to achieve clients and constituency goals. Advanced generalist practitioners value the importance of inter-professional teamwork and communication in interventions, recognizing that beneficial outcomes may require interdisciplinary, inter-professional, and inter-organizational collaboration. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of rural clients and constituencies;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with rural clients and constituencies;
  • Use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes in rural settings;
  • Provide leadership in program development, administration and evaluation; clinical and organizational supervision; research development and utilization; and policy creation, reform and implementation.
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse rural clients and constituencies; and
  • Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually developed goals.

Advanced generalist practitioners in rural settings understand that evaluation is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Advanced generalist practitioners recognize the importance of evaluating processes and outcomes to advance practice, policy, and service delivery effectiveness. Advanced generalist practitioners synthesize theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in evaluating outcomes. Advanced generalist practitioners integrate qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating outcomes and practice effectiveness. Advanced generalist practitioners:

  • Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes in rural settings;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes for rural clients and constituencies;
  • Critically analyze, appraise, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes in rural contexts, and
  • Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels in rural settings. 

 

 


 

 


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 Last Modified 4/16/18