The University of Newcastle, Australia

Inherent requirements for Bachelor of Social Work

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a program or course that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the program or course, while preserving the academic integrity of UON’s learning, assessment and accreditation processes. The inherent requirements are the abilities, knowledge and skills needed to complete a program that must be met by all students enrolled in that program.

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may be able to have reasonable adjustments made to assist them to meet the inherent requirements of a program. Reasonable adjustments cannot fundamentally change the nature of an inherent requirement.

In undertaking a Bachelor of Social Work, students will be required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian social work context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. For further information, contact your Program Convenor.

To support potential and current students' decision making a series of inherent requirement statements has been developed. These statements specify the program requirements of the undergraduate social work program for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, communication, cognition relational skills, reflective skills and sustainable performance.

How to read the inherent requirements statements:

If you are intending to enrol in the Bachelor of Social Work, you should review these inherent requirement statements and carefully consider whether you can meet these requirements. If you think you may experience challenges for any reason including a disability or chronic health condition, you should discuss your concerns with the AccessAbility Service or Course Coordinator. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine whether reasonable adjustments can be made to assist you to meet the inherent requirements. Where it is determined that a student cannot meet the inherent requirements of a program even with reasonable adjustments, UON staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

Each inherent requirement is made up of the following five levels:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement
  • Level 2 - description of what the inherent requirement is
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the program
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the inherent requirement
  • Level 5 - examples of tasks show you've met the inherent requirement

There are eight domains of inherent requirements in the Bachelor of Social Work. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

  1. Ethical Behaviour
  2. Behavioural Stability
  3. Legal
  4. Communication
  5. Knowledge and Cognition
  6. Relational skills
  7. Reflective skills
  8. Sustainable performance

Inherent Requirement statements:


1. Ethical Behaviour

Introduction

Students undertaking social work studies are governed by practice standards and codes of ethics where students are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice.

Justification

Compliance with the relevant codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all.

Knowledge of, and compliance with, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Codes of Ethics is a requirement of course accreditation and graduate standards as mandated in the AASW Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards June 2012.

Adjustments

Must ensure the codes and standards are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour.

Exemplars

Demonstrate appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and professional experience settings.

Demonstrate ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour.

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2. Behavioural Stability

Introduction

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.

Description

Students demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and professional experience environment.

Justification

Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Social work students will be exposed to highly complex human situations and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events.

Adjustments

Must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and professional experience settings.

Exemplars

Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback.

Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in the professional experience setting.

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3. Legal

Introduction

Social work is mandated by legislation and professional regulations to enable the delivery of safe and appropriate professional practice.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law, professional regulations and scope of practice.

Justification

Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary prerequisites to professional experience in order to reduce the risk of harm to self and others.

Compliance with these professional regulations and Australian law in the professional experience setting ensures that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice.

Adjustments

Must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements.

Exemplars

Complying with relevant child protection and safety legislation and reporting any notifiable concerns to your professional experience supervisor.

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4a. Communication (verbal)

Introduction

Effective and efficient verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to enable the safe delivery of support.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.
  • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner.
  • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation.
  • Timely and clear feedback and reporting.

Justification

Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships.

Communication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions).

Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety or treatment.

Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions necessary to provide safe professional support.

Adjustments

For impaired verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safe and appropriate support.

Exemplars

Participating in tutorial and clinical discussions.

Responding appropriately in an interview in the professional experience setting.

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4b. Communication (non-verbal)

Introduction

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to social work and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues.
  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours.
  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.

Justification

The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building a rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships.

Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships.

Being sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships that are essential for effective professional support.

The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for the safe and effective observation of patient symptoms and reactions to facilitate the assessment and provide professional support.

Adjustments

Must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

Exemplars

Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situations.

Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the professional experience environment.

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4c. Communication (Written)

Introduction

Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental social work student responsibility with professional and legal ramifications.

Description

Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.

Justification

Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice.

Accurate written communication, including record-keeping, client instructions and case notes is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and professional support in the professional experience context.

Adjustments

Must allow the students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and professional experience setting.

Exemplars

Constructing an assessment to academic standards.

Constructing a social worker’s report in a timely manner and that meets professional standards.

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5a.  Knowledge and cognitive skills

Introduction

Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe and competent social work practice.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information.
  • The ability to process information relevant to practice.
  • The ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice.

Justification

Safe and effective social work practice is based on knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately.

A demonstrated defined range of knowledge and cognitive skills is a requirement for course accreditation, professional experience and professional registration by the AASW.

Adjustments

Must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded.

Exemplars

Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.

Appropriately applying knowledge of policy and procedures in the professional experience setting.

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5b. Literacy (language)

Introduction

Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective professional support.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages.
  • The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information.
  • The capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.

Justification

The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and professional support.

The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective professional support in the professional experience context.

Adjustments

Must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information.

Exemplars

Conveying a spoken message accurately and effectively in a professional experience setting.

Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic and/or professional practice conventions.

Producing accurate, concise and clear case notes which meets legal and professional practice requirements.

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6. Relational skills

Introduction

Social work practice requires the ability to make and maintain strong relationships with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to establish and maintain rapport with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers.
  • The ability to engage in effective and empathic counselling skills.
  • Ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group clinical supervision and experiential learning groups.

Justification

Highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective relationships that permit effective assessment and intervention.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable level of effective relational skills.

Exemplars

Rapidly building rapport with a client in order to engage them in an assessment while on professional experience.

Effectively using relational and interpersonal skills to manage relationships with clients while on professional experience.

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7. Reflective skills

Introduction

Social work practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflectivity in order to consider the effect of one's own issues, actions, values and behaviours in practice.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to accurately reflect on their professional performance.
  • The ability to accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively.

Justification

Participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in social work education which requires well developed understanding of oneself in order to appropriately engage in this activity.

Working with clients while on professional experience and understanding and responding to them requires well developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise.

Adjustments

Must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area.

Exemplars

Identifying when a practice issue is outside one's scope or expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions.

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8. Sustainable performance

Introduction

Social work practice in the professional experience context requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time.
  • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time.

Justification

Sufficient physical and mental resilience is an essential requirement needed to perform tasks in an assigned period to provide effective, safe and professional support in the professional experience context.

Adjustments

Must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.

Exemplars

Participating in tutorials, lectures, skills

Providing consistent professional experience practice over a negotiated time frame.

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