Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Smith College. School for Social Work-Students-Attitudes, Social work education, Graduate students-Attitudes, Social workers-In-service training, Social workers-Supervision of, Teacher-student relationships, Social workers-Job satisfaction, Supervision, Supervisory relationship, Student, Social work, Satisfaction, Expectations, Learning, Power, Boundaries, Supervisor


This exploratory descriptive study sought to gain an overview of the components of the field supervisory relationship that contribute to satisfaction and dissatisfaction from the social work student perspective. More specifically, this study explored student expectations, overall learning, understanding of positive elements, negative elements, and conflict present in supervisory relationships. Second year Smith College, Master of Social Work students were interviewed regarding their field placement experiences from the previous year. Qualitative questions explored student expectations of supervisory relationships, difficulties that were encountered, learning that was achieved, and student understanding of their supervisory relationship as they reflect back on their experiences. The findings indicate that student satisfaction and learning are closely related. The relational component of the relationship has been identified as instrumental in satisfaction and learning ratings. Findings also indicate that issues of communication, power, and boundaries in the supervisory relationship present significant difficulties even for students with high satisfaction ratings. Findings additionally suggest that student use of flexibility and acceptance that may boost satisfaction ratings. Although the majority of students were satisfied with their supervisory relationships, more orientation about the nature of supervisory relationships could significantly aid in overall student learning.




iv, 89 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-83)