Saturday, July 3, 2010

Interviewing for a Hospital Internship

Yesterday, I had an interview for a social work internship at a hospital and it was a good fit :)

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.

Keralan Nature - 007

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.

Sri Lanka - 030 - Kandy Botanical Garden

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.

While there a few more steps for me to complete such as a physical exam, a background check and a meeting with my future direct supervisor, these are more formalities than anything else.

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


  1. So happy to hear your positive update, Dorlee. It sounds good. It sounds like there will be many opportunities, no matter where your internship placement is....I have a feeling the needs they have out number their there are always opportunities in those situations! Please keep us posted - and best wishes.

  2. Thanks so much, Terry

    Your support as I have been going through this internship interviewing journey has been invaluable.


  3. Dorlee, I'm so happy to hear that your search is over -- and it looks like a happy ending! I think either opportunity at the hospital will be invaluable -- well done, and congratulations!

  4. Thanks so much, Dr Deb,

    I'm so excited and relieved!

    With much warmth and appreciation,

  5. Sounds like a great opportunity, both for your internship and the future! Any of these experiences will give you a range of skills that will be very helpful to you in whatever settings you end up in after graduation. IMHO, the psychanalytic center, while it sounded attractive, would have had more limited applicability [outside of Boston and NY City (in the US anyway), psychoanalysis is often considered outdated].

  6. Hi Nancy,

    Hmm...I hadn't thought about the psychoanalytic institute option in that way. Taking this information into account, the hospital placement isn't just a very good alternative; it has ended up being the optimal position for me - giving me the most in terms of future career skills and flexibility.

    This means that I can look at my interview at the institute as a blessing in disguise :)

    With much appreciation for all your support and guidance,

  7. Dorlee,
    I'm so happy for you! I feel such joy in your words here...and that's wonderful!

  8. Hi Lance,

    Thanks so much for your kind and supportive comment.

    I feel the joy you are sharing with me jumping off the page :)


  9. Hi! Thank you for posting the interview experience for your social work internship. I am looking for an internship but I have been out of school for a while. I am applying and sending requests. Do you know anything that could help me?


  10. Hi Ceci,

    I would suggest you visit . There should be various posts there that would be of help to you.

    You could also check out my list of favorite career blogs to visit.

    Lastly, you could read the posts I've written on job searching. The essence of finding an internship (particularly when you are no longer part of a school) is identical to that of looking for work.

    Wishing you the best of luck!