Ok, we all know that social work practice isn’t totally built on basic facts. The license exams, all multiple choice questions, often have more than one answer choice of the four that by themselves, sound correct. This is known as the: “I can get it down to two answers and then I am stuck” problem. I hear this over and over, so how do you choose? Well, the help is concealed in the wording of the narrative part of the question, called the stem.
Claire is William’s supervisor in a large urban nursing home. He has been working there for 3 months and is well-liked by other staff. She encourages him to raise issues that are important to him, but he says that everything is going well, and he doesn’t have much to talk about. Claire realizes he may be anxious about discussing his work and disclosing some concerns. She is concerned about his reluctance to discuss his work, feeling frustrated that she cannot be helpful to him or have a clear idea of his skills and knowledge. She should next:
A) Inquire about his work to his peers and residents on the floor he is assigned to.
B) Model use of supervision by discussing some of her own recent experiences and learning processes.
C) Remind him that supervision is confidential and can be helpful in his work.
D) Let him know that his ability to present his work is one aspect of his work that will be evaluated as part of his job responsibilities.
In this question the key is contained in the supervisor’s understanding of his resistance to sharing information about his work: “ Claire realizes he may be anxious about discussing his work and disclosing some concerns.” If this is ignored, then “D” is a possible answer. “C” is giving him reassurance which is not likely to touch the source of his anxiety. So, if she is trying to effect a change believing that she has to address his anxiety, then “B” is the best fit.
Here’s the PassItPro Pointer:
The questions (stem) are constructed very deliberately. You should consider that each part of it is there for a reason. Carefully reading the stem of the question is the first essential step to unlocking the issue the question is written to illustrate.
Idelle Datlof, Founder, MSW, LISW