While completing my undergraduate degree, I engaged in an internship after finishing all of the required courses. I assumed that having field placement while simultaneously doing course work would be very different and possibly too much to handle. It was thoroughly explained to me why the UNC curriculum is set up for core classes and field placement to occur at the same time. The benefits of the curriculum being set up this way are coming to life for me on a weekly basis.
My internship is at the Memory Counseling Program (MCP), Sticth Center for Aging, Wake Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem, NC. The MCP provides psychotherapy, psychoeducation, and group support for people that have been diagnosed with dementia along with their caregivers. I am currently taking Direct Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families. The required textbook, Direct Social Work Practice Theory and Skills, gives simple and thorough details of the importance of establishing rapport and empathizing with the client. My field placement instructor, along with other members of the interdisciplinary team, models the techniques that are discussed throughout this course. I have the opportunity to observe intake assessments, support groups, and later down the road I will be facilitating them. The Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities class focuses more on macro practice. This class helped me to realize how much macro and direct practice overlap. In my field placement, I am apart of meetings about funding and behavioral health integration (macro challenges) which impact how often we can provide psychotherapy and group session (direct practice). I also got the opportunity to address a macro issue while writing a paper for this class. I am conducting research to figure out why there is a disproportionate number of African-Americans, who are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, accessing the MCP as a resource.
I look forward to my field placement weekly and appreciate the fact that I am constantly learning while applying what I learn in the classroom setting!