Short Author Bio(s)

Sherryl Gaston

Sherryl is a Lecturer in Nursing and Rural Health in a rural campus of the University of South Australia and teach in the Bachelor of Nursing as well as Foundation Studies. She has recently completed a Master of Clinical Science and intends to continue with studies by enrolling in a PhD. Sherryl's research interests are related to adult education and students or health professionals understanding, as well as the effective teaching of the soft skills in allied health areas.

Mellissa Kruger

Mellissa is a doctoral student with the University of South Australia. Currently, her research interests include: how the experience of placements shapes the professional identity of students and also how placements prepare students for employment beyond their degrees. Mellissa has been a faculty member of the University of South Australia for eight years, teaching in the disciplines of Social Work and Foundation Studies.


There are benefits to volunteering for both the community and the student undertaking the volunteering, it can help to enhance the students understanding of the area they are moving into, or it can show them where they do not want to work. It can assist the student to connect with the community and develop an awareness of the society around them. In most social work programs in Australia there is no practical experience until the last half of the program. This study wanted to identify if social work students undertaking volunteer work during the first two years of their course, found it helped to enhance their understanding of their studies, as well as human service work in general. The findings support that volunteering in the first two years of the degree would to enhance student learning.