The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of people’s lives worldwide, including the work of social workers and the education of social work students. Field placements are a significant part of social work education, but during the pandemic they were cut short and most teaching moved online. The current mixed-methods study examined the effects of social work education on social work students’ empathy and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic on the island of Ireland. A matched sample of 49 students completed an online survey at the start (T1) of their degree and at the end (T2). A further 229 students who only completed the T1 survey were compared to 70 others who only completed the T2 survey. The results showed improved resilience in the cohort comparison. There were no differences in empathy in the matched sample nor between the cohorts. Thematic analysis of students’ narratives showed that they found the switch to online learning difficult, with some reporting negative impacts on their mental health and the abrupt ending of placements impacting their feelings of preparedness for practice. Implications of this study and future research areas are discussed.
|Journal||British Journal of Social Work|
|Early online date||10 Feb 2023|
|Publication status||Early online date - 10 Feb 2023|
- COVID-19, education, empathy, resilience, social work students