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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HUMS 1581: Introduction to Professional Human Service Practice

Students review the field of human service practice beginning with an overview of personal and professional values and ethics that are key elements of practice. Additional topics include observation, record keeping, community mapping, team work, and self-care.

Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the five values that are key to a professional practice: individualization, self-determination, confidentiality, accountability and normalization.
  • Reflect on personal values and their congruence with professional values in human service practice.
  • Identify aspects of professional knowledge in human service practice.
  • Demonstrate basic observation and recording skills.
  • Apply the concepts of diversity, context, power & discourse in critical reflection.
  • Identify personal stressors and self-care strategies frequently associated with human service work.
  • Provide a public presentation and practice giving and receiving feedback.
  • Investigate a human service in a community and develop a visual representation.

Course topics

The course is organized into the following lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the Human Service Profession
  • Lesson 2: Introduction to Personal Values, Self-Knowledge, and Self-Care
  • Lesson 3: Introduction to Critical Reflection
  • Lesson 4: Introduction to Professional Values in Human Service and the Code of Ethics
  • Lesson 5: Individualization and Self-Determination
  • Lesson 6: Confidentiality, Accountability & Normalization
  • Lesson 7: Working with Cultural Diversity
  • Lesson 8: Observation and Recording
  • Lesson 9: Working effectively in groups and teams
  • Lesson 10: Community and Concept Mapping
  • Lesson 11: Effective Presentations and Giving Feedback
  • Lesson 12: The Community Mapping Presentation (Final Project)

Required text and materials

Students will receive the following:

  1. O’Hara, A., Weber, Z. & Levine, K. (2016). Skills for human service practice: Working with individuals, groups and communities. (Second Canadian Ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 9780199011827


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain 50% overall and 50% on the final mandatory project. It is strongly recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning objectives of the course.

Your final grade for the course is determined on the following basis:

Personal Values Paper 20%
Code of Ethics Review 5%
Activity Assignment 1 2.5%
Activity Assignment 2 2.5%
Activity Assignment 3 2.5%
Mid Term Test 25%
Activity Assignment 4 2.5%
Activity Assignment 5 2.5%
Activity Assignment 6 2.5%
Final Project (mandatory) 35%
Total 100%

Please note that for this course to apply to the completion of your Social Service Worker Certificate, you must obtain a C grade (60%), or higher, overall in the course.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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