Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 23–31 | Cite as

Feeling Lucky: The Serendipitous Nature of Field Education

  • Kathryn HayEmail author
  • Jane Maidment
  • Neil Ballantyne
  • Liz Beddoe
  • Shayne Walker
Original Paper


Field education and the supervision that occurs during this process cements learning and enhances preparedness for a career in social work. Graduate readiness for social work practice is however a contested subject in New Zealand with recent criticism focusing on the adequacy of social work education. This paper reports on findings from focus groups with 27 faculty members and 35 students from eight Schools of Social Work in New Zealand which explored aspects of the taught and learned curriculum. Overall, students and faculty revealed some dissatisfaction with the taught curriculum on supervision that occurs on campus prior to the placement experience. Many students reported irregularity of placement supervision and associated quality supervision with being lucky. We propose a series of recommendations to address these concerns, emphasizing that students should be able to consistently access effective placement supervision rather than consider this a matter of luck.


Supervision Luck Field instructor New Zealand Availability of field education 



This project was funded by a National Project Grant, Ako Aotearoa.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Open PolytechnicWellingtonNew Zealand
  4. 4.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.Otago UniversityDunedinNew Zealand

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