Record-Writing and Professional Socialization in Social Work

By Bonnie D. Oglensky.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.7-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 786.072KB).

Dr. Bonnie D. Oglensky

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, York College, York College, City University of New York, New York, USA

Dr. Bonnie Oglensky is a professor and Director of Field Education in the Department of Social Sciences at York College, City University of New York, U.S. Trained as a sociologist and social worker, Dr Oglensky’s primary research interests are in pedagogy and professional socialization, authority and workplace relationships, and the socio-emotional dynamics of long term mentoring relationships. She is co-author along with Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Carroll Seron, and Robert Saute, of The Part-Time Paradox: Time Norms, Professional Life, and Gender (Routledge, 1999), and has published articles in journals such as Human Relations (Tavistock) and Management Learning (Sage).

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