Invitation to Communities of Practice

Being a social worker can be difficult, because our training, values and perspectives can be so different than those of the people around us. On any given day we might say to ourselves, “No one understands” or “I feel like it is just me trying to solve all the world’s problems!”

Luckily, we are not alone! We are almost three thousand social workers living and working across unceded Mi’kma’ki. Connecting with other social workers in conversation can be an effective measure to reduce and prevent vicarious stress, create opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing, as well as provide creative opportunities for professional development credit.

On December 15, 2023, we are excited to host our next quarterly communities of practice virtual gathering which will bring together social workers from across the province.

Communities of practice offer a framework for practitioners to connect around a common interest for knowledge exchange, knowledge creation, and mutual support. These important conversations were initiated by our Connections Committee, as a way of gathering together multiple voices and perspectives. They have proven to be effective in bringing our members together on a number of issues, in order to improve their understanding of different concerns, to share best practice ideas, and to brainstorm solutions to seemingly intractable problems.  

For example, as a result of these conversations, our French speaking social workers have begun to work together in new ways. A social work student with Université Sainte-Anne, currently completing their practicum with the Nova Scotia College of Social Workers, will be present to support this group and begin to gather resources in French in collaboration with the Réseau de Santé.  Groups are also forming for the housing and poverty sector, the justice sector, and clinical social work practice. If you are in another area of practice in which you feel you have a group of practitioners who would benefit from connecting with our professional community, please reach out to us with ideas.

While these virtual gatherings are centred on social work practice in Nova Scotia, inviting our colleagues to join us can enrich our conversations. Non-member tickets are therefore open to social workers across Canada, as well as to members of any other regulated professions who regularly collaborate with social workers. 

Participants may also choose to follow up with their colleagues after these gatherings to pursue further collaboration. For example:

  • developing an advocacy campaign
  • co-creating a best practice resource
  • organizing a group for peer support or peer supervision 

This examples are not exhaustive, and members are encouraged to explore and invent other opportunities relevant to your practice and your community. We are excited to see how the seeds of connection planted by these gatherings continue to grow and change over time.