Despite increasing awareness of the importance of clinical documentation to the delivery of effective social work services, little attention has been paid to training social work majors in professional writing. In this article, I present an overview of efforts to address this gap through a workshop series for undergraduate social work students called “Writing in the Field.” Applying the concepts of genre and cognitive apprenticeship from writing composition and learning theories, I outline the theoretical underpinnings of the workshops. Based on an analysis of “encoded ways of knowing” found in the structure and conventions of content of one social work record known as the “Psychosocial Assessment Report,” I argue that competent clinical report-writing reflects the development of cognitive processes that are aligned with and uphold the logic and values of the social work field. As students learn how to write clinical records, they learn how to think about clients, behave like social workers, and begin to develop a sense of what it feels like to be a member of the profession. Viewed in this way, clinical documentation is considered a powerful tool for the professional socialization of social work students.
|Keywords:||Professional Socialization, Writing to Learn, Field Writing, Record as Genre, Psychosocial Assessment Report|
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, York College, York College, City University of New York, New York, USA
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