Aside from the typical interview questions, the social worker head supervisor described to me all the various departments in the hospital in which social workers tend to be involved. These included: the mobile crisis unit that goes out into the community, the pallative care department (in which people
often need referrals to hospices), the emergency psych department, the outpatient psych department, the cancer department, the domestic violence/crime victims unit, the inpatient mental health unit and the regular medical unit.
The three areas that she was looking to place an intern were the outpatient psych, emergency psych and the regular medical unit. I am most interested in the outpatient psych unit because there I would be involved in making diagnoses, assessments, treatment plans and conducting therapy. It is also possible that I would have the opportunity to run a group.
The head supervisor thought that I would have a good chance at getting the outpatient psych position but she wasn't 100% sure because that department often prefers that their interns have prior experience. However, the fact that I had some experience in conducting psychosocial assessments and depression/anxiety screenings in my first year placement was a positive. In addition, the fact that I'm taking this summer "abnormal psychology" as opposed to this fall was also a factor in my favor.
In the event that I do not get accepted for the outpatient psych placement, I would get placed within the emergency psych department. This internship would expose me to patients who enter the hospital at times of crisis, typically at a time of an attempted suicide or severe illness. I would have the opportunity to develop diagnostic and assessment skills here as well; however I would get little exposure to providing long-term therapy. Instead, my focus would be on short-term crisis type counseling.
Under either scenario, this hospital placement would provide me with valuable experience to add to my social work portfolio of skills. In addition, interning at a hospital advantage would be an asset in terms of employment down the road. This is because it leaves open the possibility of not only working at this hospital (or the hospitals within its network) down the road but also the option of future hospital work at any point. Hospitals tend to only hire social workers with prior hospital experience. Furthermore, this social worker head supervisor said that they often hire their interns at the completion of their placements.
I am so relieved and happy that my search is now over...
With much gratitude and appreciation to Nancy and Terry for all the support that you provided me during the past few weeks!
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments. I really appreciate them!
Photo credits: McKay Savage