Self-reflection is crucial for determining one’s personal strengths and weaknesses to plan improvement. Self-reflection is the key to self-awareness, as it allows people to look at themselves from a neutral standpoint. Even though there are some associated problems with self-reflection, as it can become obsessive, generally, it is considered a good practice that promotes personal development. The present paper provides a reflection of self-assessment results by identifying gaps in your graduate-level skills, describing resources that will be used to fill in the gaps, and discussing the concerns about graduate work.
In general, the self-assessment results revealed that I have more strengths than weaknesses, on which I can build to seek improvement. My strongest areas include technology-realted skills and critical thinking, research, and analysis skills. In these two areas, I put either “agree” or “strongly agree” for all nine questions. This demonstrates that I feel comfortable with using technology to search for required information, select the appropriate sources, critically evaluate the evidence, and synthesize knowledge from several sources. In general, I am comfortable with doing everything I can do on my own, without collaboration. However, when it comes to collaboration skills, I am often at a loss when it comes to collaborating with my classmates to achieve a common goal. I am also unsure if I can handle conflict effectively. Additionally, I am not sure that I can maintain balance in my life among work, school, and personal responsibilities or manage stress in a healthy way.
As for time management, my current skills are sufficient to help me in achieving my goal. In particular, I can organize my time effectively to meet all the deadlines in time. I have minimal problems with keeping a tight schedule to attend to all my duties. However, I am unsure if I know how to maintain balance in my life among work, school, and personal responsibilities, as I often find it difficult to spend time with my family. I am also unsure that my stress management techniques are healthy, as I do not have time to assess them.
The central problem that was identified during the self-assessment is the lack of collaboration skills. In order to address the problem, I plan to take three approaches. First, I will try to find a mentor who will help me understand how I can use my strengths to improve my collaboration skills. Second, I will try to take projects outside of my comfort zone with online collaborations. The problem is that I am comfortable with face-to-face communication. However, I feel distressed when I have to communicate online. I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic forces everyone to turn to online communication. Thus, I will have to embrace new technology to deliver the best service to my clients and acquire the best knowledge and skills in my studies. Finally, I will try to engage in online discussions outside the academic environment. I will consciously look for online forums that discuss topics of my interest. These three strategies will help me to address the weaknesses identified during the assessment.
In conclusion, I do not have considerable concerns about my graduate work. I have all the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in completing the program. Even though my collaboration skills can be improved, the graduate self-assessment tool demonstrated that my communication, time management, research, and critical thinking skills are more than sufficient to be successful in the program.
The ability to respond to research is crucial for scholar practitioners, as it helps to understand how the results of the research can apply to practice. The analysis of research articles also improves the ability to critically evaluate the research to understand if the results can be trusted. The present paper aims at providing a response to an article titled “Training social workers and human service professionals to address the complex financial needs of clients” by Frey et al. (2016). The paper provides a brief summary of the article and discusses how research findings align with your professional experiences.
The article by Frey et al. (2016) touches upon the problem of social workers’ inability to help their clients address financial needs. The central reason for the inability to provide such services is the lack of sufficient training. The Financial Stability Pathway (FSP) project is a comprehensive training program designed by Frey et al. (2016) that offers a different approach to training in comparison with traditional methods. In particular, the approach encourages the trainees (social workers) to analyze their own financial issues and then transfer the knowledge to the assessment of their clients’ problems (Frey et al., 2016). The article describes a quantitative study conducted to confirm the effectiveness of the program. A sample of 32 human service practitioners was assessed in terms of confidence about providing financial services for their clients three times: before the program, shortly after the program, and six months after the program. The results demonstrated that FSP was helpful for improving the ability of social workers to help their clients address their complex financial needs.
The problem raised by Frey et al. (2016) is crucial, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, I have been meeting families with diverse financial issues more often than in previous years; however, I was unable to refer them to human service providers that could effectively address the problem. Even though social workers are often trained in this field, the majority of professionals still claim that they are sometimes at a loss, when it comes to the analysis of the financial needs of clients. Thus, I agree that a comprehensive program is needed to help human service providers in this endeavor.
However, it should be acknowledged that the research conducted by Frey et al. (2016) has several limitations. First, the sample size is small, which does not support the generalizability of the findings. Moreover, the response rate of 76% is also low, which may be a sign of sampling biases. Second, the dependent variable measures self-reported readiness and confidence in providing financial services. This implies that the researchers failed to assess the actual effectiveness of provided services before and after the intervention. However, it should also be mentioned that the researchers utilized adequate analysis methods, which adds to the reliability of the finding. In summary, even though I find the research useful, I would look for additional evidence that confirms the effectiveness of FSP or search for other training programs to improve the quality of provided human services.
The brief analysis provided above is an excellent example of how evidence-based research can be used in my work as an advanced human services professional practitioner. When I take a leadership position, I will review research articles to familiarize myself with current issues discussed by scholars. I will also assess the evidence provided in the articles to understand if the results can be trusted. If I find the results trustworthy, I will try to translate evidence into practice to improve the quality of service.
Frey, J. J., Hopkins, K., Osteen, P., Callahan, C., Hageman, S., & Ko, J. (2016). Training social workers and human service professionals to address the complex financial needs of clients. Journal of Social Work Education, 53(1), 118–131.