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									    Professional Development Committee

                      Report on Review of Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers
                      Professional Development Reporting Forms for 2007
                      Review Date: August 16, 2008


Members of the Professional Development Committee are pleased to report that the Committee undertook a
process for the review of professional development reporting on the part of NSASW membership in 2007.

A need was identified at the Committee level for the development of a review process that would allow for an
audit and reporting process to the Association. In 2006 a review process was undertaken to begin to develop
protocols for the audit of the professional development reporting. In early 2007 the Committee also completed
a national review of audit process utilized in other Canadian provinces. A date was set for a one day session to
complete the audit process of a small randomized sample of reporting forms.

Goals of the Audit:

•       To test a randomized sampling process of professional development reporting forms
•       To test the evaluation form developed for the 2006 audit and revised for the 2007 audit
•       To conduct an audit process as a committee of volunteers
•       To gain awareness of the overall engagement registered social workers have in professional
•       To gain a better understanding of the types of professional development activities members are
        engaging in
•       To identify any trends, points of interest or concerns through the audit process
•       To make recommendations for the 2008 reporting form audit process

Executive Summary:

Outlined below is the process by which the sample selection was conducted as well as the practice areas
included among the sample. Next, the methodology that the committee used for the review process is outlined.
Following is a description of the process and results of the audit. The Committee determined that the quality of
professional development activities in the sample was high and that almost all met the minimum professional
development requirements outlined by the Association.

Information on sample:

The Committee determined that an audit of all reporting forms would be outside the scope of the Committee.
The Committee agreed that a small randomized sample of professional development reporting forms would
allow the committee to test the audit process.

A random sample of 50 of the 1578 Registered Social Workers and Social Worker Candidates was identified
and their professional development reporting forms were extracted from their files. In 4 cases, the forms were
not available, meaning that the random sample size was 46. Of the 46, 4 were Social Worker Candidates
during the reporting period (calendar year 2007) and 4 were Private Practitioners.

In an effort to have a better representation of Social Worker Candidates and Private Practitioners, 3 additional
Social Worker Candidate files and 4 additional Private Practitioner files were pulled and added to the random

The total sample size was 53, which included 7 Social Worker candidates and 8 Private Practitioners.
In terms of educational background:

Grandparented RSW             4
BSW                           26
MSW                           23
In terms of geographic location:
HRM                           28
Outside HRM                   25

     Area of Practice as identified by respondent (not all respondents identified an area of practice)

                      Area of Practice                Grandparented               BSW               MSW
                      Child welfare                         2                      11
                      Addictions                                                   11                    4
                      Management                              1                     1                    2
                      Advocacy-human rights                                         1
                      Primary/public health                                                              1
                      Medical social work                                           1
                      Direct practice                                               1
                      Counseling and therapy                                                             4
                      Mental health                                                                      2
                      Social work education                                                              1
                      School social work                                                                 1


       The Process entailed the following:

       1) A computer generated randomized number was used to select the forms. The forms were pulled from
       the file cabinets by the Executive Director and the Executive Assistant.

       2) Each form was assigned a number and identifying information was removed from each form to
       maintain privacy and improve inter-rater reliability. This meant that reviewers did not know the names of
       any participants.

       3) A recorder was selected to capture any group discussion and notes from the data collection process.

       4) Each committee member presented one form to test the review form and process. This form was
       discussed by all present.

       5) After each committee member offered one form, the committee reviewed the special sample of
       candidates and private practitioners.

       6) The committee formed pairs and divided the remaining forms for review.

       7) After pairs worked through remaining forms, exceptional submissions were discussed with the entire
       committee present.

       Completion of a minimum of 40 hours of professional development:

       There was only one respondent who did not report the minimum 40 hours. This individual was a
       grandparented RSW who is on Long Term Disability Leave and managed to complete 36 hours.
       Three respondents who reported completing a minimum of 40 hours were assessed by the reviewers to
       have completed fewer than the required hours, as seen in the table below:

       Reported a minimum of 40 hours; assessed by reviewers to have completed fewer than 40:

                  Reported and assessed hours                      RSW                   MSW
             reported 43 hours; assessed at 38 hours                 x
             reported 40 hours; assessed at 36 hours                 x
             reported 40 hours; assessed at 28 hours                                        x

       In the entire sample, there were only 6 respondents who reported 40 hours or less, including the three

       Although not required to report more then 40 hours of professional development activity several
       respondents did do this. The highest number of hours reported by a respondent was 420 (BSW), and
       the highest number assessed by the reviewers was 133 (BSW).

Types of Learning Opportunities Reported:

Each cell represents the number of respondents who reported the identified learning opportunity

              Learning opportunity Grandparented          BSW                    MSW

             formal courses                 1            11                        10
             conferences/                   2                 12                   16
             short sessions                 1                 13                   10
             workplace training             3                 22                   12
             reading                        1                 9                    8
             candidacy                                                             1
             Association activities                           3                    2
             student supervision                              1                    3
             Other                                            2                       6
                                                       computer       presentation at conference,
                                                       training,      presented workshop,
                                                       volunteer      prepared for teaching, peer
                                                       training        discussion, training others,
Reflections of the Committee on the results of the audit process:

•       Most members take their professional development seriously and make every effort to complete the
required 40 hours.
•       While many members submit clear, legible reports that provide sufficient detail to assess the
professional development activities, the reporting forms could be revised to make it even more clear the kind of
information that is required. For instance, several people reported “journaling” and reading novels about social
•       Related to this, we need to find efficient ways to record individual professional development yearly, and
to process these submissions, for instance, Survey Monkey might be one way to approach this
•       Many social workers manage to complete all of their requirements through taking advantage
of workplace learning opportunities. Employers who provide such opportunities should be recognized.
•       Courses need to be in line with social work values and related to the field of social work. Some people
reported training in methods that are not considered best practice. How should this be handled in the future?
•       Social Worker Candidate supervisors are presently able to count their supervisory time for up to 2
hours. Candidates are not able to count the time spent in supervision. Should this be revisited?
 •      A different approach to professional development is to ask members to identify learning goals each year
and then to structure their professional development around achieving these goals. Should we be exploring this
  •     The Committee encourages people to engage in a variety of learning activities. Should we set
maximum hours for any one type of learning activity?
 •      We need to recognize the increased use of technology in general, and encourage people to engage in
on-line and other electronic means of learning.
 •     Every year, there are questions from social workers who are on maternity or some other kind of leave
about the requirement for professional development during the time they are on leave. We need to consider a
return to work process to build the professional development of members on extended leave.

                Some things the Committee should consider for its own operations:

       (a)    Inspire a learning community through professional development activities among the community
       of Social Workers
       (b)    Share expectations for ongoing professional development at the Schools of Social Work and her
       venues where members are meeting
       (c)    We need reps from a variety of Social Work workplaces to review the submissions to understand
       job specific training implications.

General topics covered in learning opportunities:

    Granparented RSW                                        BSW

       •   poverty                              .   non violent crisis intervention
       •   work-related issues                  .   self-esteem/boundaries
       •   PRIDE - foster care                  .   financial training
       •   brain tumor                          .   therapy intervention
       •   conflict resolution                  .   child welfare core training
       •   women’s issues                       .   rural social work practice
       •   group leadership                     .   adoption
                                                .   persons with disabilities
                                                .   public administration
                                                .   mental health and addictions
                                                .   human rights
                                                .   cultural training
                                                .   cancer
                                                .   French language
                                                .   research methods
                                                .   motivational interviewing
                                                .   administration/management
                                                   .   inner child
                                                   .   anxiety
                                                   .   parenting
                                                   .   Tourette’s syndrome
                                                   .   treatment programs
                                                   .   child sexual abuse
                                                   .   counselling


.      . child protection – mediation
       . schizophrenia
       . human rights
       . racism/anti-racism
       . solution-focused therapy
       . mental health
       . ethical issues
       . general therapy
       . sex trade
       . addiction/recovery
       . gerontology/seniors issues
       . basic life skills
       . high risk families
       . anxiety - children and adolescents
       . child sexual abuse
       . alcohol treatment psychiatric disorders
        . community partnerships
        . legal issues (rights of child, family
       . cancer care
       . bereavement
       . ignition interlock training

Closing comments:

The Professional Development Committee plans to audit a randomized sample of professional development
reporting forms submitted for the 2008 registration year for audit during the summer of 2009. The committee has
been working to recruit new committee members to increase the capacity to review a larger number for reporting
forms. The audit tool will be revised based on discussions from the 2007 reporting year audit and results will act
as a comparative sample. The Committee looks forward to presenting the result of the audit in 2010.

    Respectfully Submitted March 31, 2009
    Stacy McRae, BSW, RSW, Co-Chair Professional Development Committee.

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