Internships are a cornerstone to a full college experience. They provide students with an opportunity to learn and adapt to the job so that they are ready to cope up with any challenge in the workforce after graduation. Val Criswell is quite aware of the value of an internship at Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care firsthand. Val now serves as the Support Services Director in Crossroads’ Independence, MO office, albeit he started as an intern with Crossroads in 2002,
“Internships open your eyes to different systems, jobs, and career paths,” Val shares. “Many of our current social workers are former interns. We train them so well that we want to keep them!”
Internships often can guide students by giving them vital first-hand experience and insights, to decide upon their career path after their field of study. An internship with River Valley Hospice could provide a suitable and worthy experience especially for college students currently in fields like palliative medicine or medical records, nursing, healthcare, medical social work, and spiritual care.
A typical hospice care internship for social work students depends on their current degree. The main goal of a hospice care internship is to provide the student with a complete overview of hospice care.
A Bachelor’s degree in social work is made compulsory by Medicare for social work interns, Furthermore, the interns have to be working on their Master’s degree if they want to see patients on their own as a social worker. Students meeting that criteria start out shadowing current social workers. They visit patients with a social worker, attend new patient registrations, shadow other disciplines, and attend interdisciplinary team meetings (IDG).
Also, the social worker precepting the student is required to work with them and their university to create a learning contract and a specific project that could end up being adopted by the team.
As the semester of the social work intern continues, they continue to build on their education and, after they feel they are ready, A small caseload, under their responsibility, is set up. They see patients on their own as well as document their visits, organize Gift of Day events, and attend IDG. In short, they are a fully-functioning hospice social worker. But they can still rely on the support and experience of the full-time staff.
A student, not having a Bachelor’s degree in social work, can still have a hospice care internship experience in many other ways. They can work with the social work team on resourcing and research for families. They can work under the volunteer department and visit patients one-on-one as volunteers. Other social work interns work with a bereavement coordinator to assist with grief support groups and make phone calls. In all cases, they can have the hospice social work experience by spending additional time with the social work team.
During this pandemic, there are fewer patient visits for interns and more time is spent sending cards to patients, making phone calls, and helping out the volunteer staff with projects.
Strict rules have to be followed if an intern comes up with the opportunity to do a home visit with a patient. Social distancing is strictly maintained, Staff and interns travel separately to the patient’s home and proper personal protective equipment is worn.