The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a complex and lifelong health condition that requires frequent medical treatment. HIV-positive peers have the potential to support people living with HIV who are hospitalized by improving the transition from hospital inpatient care to home. Recommendations and experiences of Peer Volunteers were reviewed to develop a training curriculum for peer support in complex HIV care.
A community-clinical partnership designed a peer intervention program for people living with HIV who were hospitalized, titled the ART of Conversation. Five Peer Volunteers delivered the program. Peers were matched with, and met with, a participant prior to discharge and frequent phone contact following discharge. The 4-day Peer Volunteer training supported skill building in active listening, structuring a call, use of self, boundaries, and facilitating program closure. Peer Volunteers were interviewed prior and post-match. Analysis reviewed Peer Volunteer preparedness and areas for program improvement.
Peers noted participants felt affirmed in their experiences, tracked goals and progress of participants, built rapport through personal experience disclosures, and completed closure tasks. Peers struggled to maintain emotional connections over the phone and were concerned when participants were non-responsive. The article discusses the training program pilot and recommendations for practice. It also includes the full Peer Support Volunteer Training Manual.
Doctoral education in social work is critical in nurturing new thought leaders, teachers, and researchers in this discipline. Canadian universities are increasing admissions for bachelor and masters level social work degree programs. This means doctoral programs are expanding to educate and train future social work faculty. Currently, research and scholarship on doctoral social work education is predominantly American, and no study has observed the state of the fourteen doctoral social work programs in Canada. This article looks at PhD social work student experiences in 2019-2020. Firstly, a student survey of 157 respondents indicated a) the quality of PhD social work programs in Canada was rated as “moderate”; and b) finances may be a barrier to academic success. Secondly, an an online survey with 69 respondents found that workshops significantly supported scholarship success – facilitating financial stability. This article provides a current picture of doctoral social work education in Canada, with recommendations for further research and education.