Social Work with Burn-injured Children: A Service Learning Experience

Course Overview: This course is designed to provide students with an intensive leaming experience working with an organization that serves children of families from diverse socio economic, racial and cultural backgrounds who have been bum injured within an unique organizational and community framework. Students will actively participate in a strengths-based, non-traditional setting to provide services that support the well-being of these children along with a diverse community of allied helping professionals outside of the field of social work. Students will learn about the process of bum recovery, gain understanding of the systems impact of a burn injury on the individual, family and community, acquire knowledge of the experience of critical care personnel, and actively participate as volunteers in a week long camp run by the Georgia Firefighter's Association. Students will be expected to stay on site at the camp (room and board provided) for the entire duration of the camp and participate in a variety of capacities that support the organization, development and implementation of the camp community. Emphasis will be placed on group participation with the children, fellow students and volunteer team members and evaluation will include a critical self reflection and organizational analysis. Processing time and debriefing and will be incorporated throughout this experience as well as at the end.

Objectives: A. Develop and implement advanced practice group skills with bum injured children in an informal, non traditional setting. B. Develop critical thinking and research knowledge of the physical and emotional recovery process from burn injuries and its impact on individuals, families and community within an eco systems perspective. C. Collaborate with allied health and non social work helping professionals by functioning as participants in an intensive team setting with other volunteers. D. Demonstrate professional use of self in adapting to diverse tasks with different types of groups. E. Apply knowledge of organizational development, conflict resolution, and group participation with a diverse community. F. Develop an understanding of the impact of economic injustice, oppression and discrimination with the burn injured population. G. Reflect critically on the group experience and its relationship with professional social work values, ethics and goals. H. Self evaluate competency development in advanced practice and organizational skills.

Course Structure: Students will participate in four extended preparation/orientation sessions prior to the camp experience. This time includes two, full day orientation training session provided and required by the camp. During this class time the focus will be on developing awareness of the medical aspects of treating serious burn injuries and the subsequent recovery process through assignments, guest lectures and videos. Staff from the Georgia Firefighter's Bum Foundation in collaboration with personnel from The Burn Center at Grady Hospital and firefighters will participate. A team model of on site group peer supervision/processing will be employed utilizing participating students. All students will have an opportunity to practice facilitating a small group of peers for processing and reflecting on their experience while at camp. The purpose of these groups is to provide on site support and an opportunity to process the experience during the week of camp in a supportive environment while giving students the opportunity to practice group facilitation skills. The teams will meet daily when camp begins or, as the schedule permits. Community empowerment students will be required to participate in at least one morning staff meeting. Family centered students will be required to facilitate at least one group activity with the children. All students will be expected to write a one page summary of this experience. Students will be expected to stay on site at the camp beginning on the Saturday before camp begins until the following Saturday afternoon after clean up and the camp debriefing session. Students will be expected to meet for a mandatory follow up meeting to be arranged.

Method of Assessment and feedback: 1. Maintain a daily journal focusing on the following four areas:

  • Description of daily activities including specific duties and roles performed.
  • Reactions and personal opinions/observations.
  • Learning and insights, questions generated and family practice/or organizational skills incorporated.
  • Personal goals and objectives as related to successes and challenges encountered. (what would you like to change?)

2. 2 article summaries 3. For both CE and FCP students: Written summary of experience at end of course to include reflection on strengths and challenges of experience, learnings about self in relation to work with this population, and skills acquired.   For CE students, please add a 2-3 page commentary on organizational/structural observations based on a strengths/asset focused model of your choice to include patterns of decision making, financial man. For FCP students: please add a 2-3 page commentary on a strengths-based observation of this population of children, recommendations for improving serving the needs of the children. Due: June 12th

Course Schedule: June 12, 2001: Class meets at Tucker June 15, 2001: Meeting for Advanced Standing students June 9/21: Camp orientation for I't time campers July 17: Class meeting at Georgia Firefighter Burn Foundation, 9:30-12:30. July 21: Staff orientation at Rock Eagle July 22: Campers arrive July 22-27: Camp July 28: Campers leave, camp clean up, debriefing July 31: Class pot luck supper at Nancy's house in Athens, Time: TBA (follow up/debriefing)* * Please note: Orientations and debriefings are mandatory.

Independent Social Work Research: Family Centered Students Students will be introduced to qualitative research methodology. All students will be required to develop an interview guide, conduct a semi structured interview in teams of two and collaborate on writing up the interview for a class assignment that will be submitted on the last day of the summer semester (August 3). The interview guide will be developed in class and articles and further clarification through class discussion will be provided that will guide the students in this process.

Group Interview "Steve" The interviews can be conducted prior to camp or during the camp week. One team member will ask the questions while the other member takes notes. Family centered students will interview a firefighter. Each team of two must select a different firefighter. (No firefighter can be interviewed by two teams). Community empowerment students will interview camp administrators (Lynn Naylor, Michelle Dyer or camp organizers who may also be firefighters). We will process this experience during the final debriefing session but I will be available throughout the camp week if any questions or concerns arise.