Internship Roles and Responsibilities

Three-Way Collaboration

The social work internship reflects a three party collaboration – intern, internship placement agency, and the Social Work Department. Each party has an important role with accompanying responsibilities, as outlined below.

Responsibilities of the Social Work Department and the Field Director:

  1. To facilitate placement of students in agencies for the internship experience.
  2. To facilitate with the student the development of an internship contract that is also negotiated with the field instructor.
  3. To provide a liaison between school and agency. Two to three site visits or teleconferences to the agency will be made.  The purpose of the first visit is to review the intern’s contract and to address any questions about the Social Work Department and the internship that might arise.  During the second and three visits the faculty liaison, with the intern and field instructor, will facilitate discussion of the midterm and final evaluations.
  4. To provide orientation for field instructors and agency directors each term.
  5. To facilitate the two internship seminars, providing feedback to interns on presentations and papers.
  6. To provide ongoing consultation with the placement agencies as needed.
  7. To maintain an on-going Practitioners Advisory Council that reviews and evaluates the overall Social Work Department, particularly the internship component.
  8. To carry liability insurance for the Social Work interns.

Responsibilities of the Agency:

Agencies whose social work goals, services and policies are compatible with the values of social work, who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to student education, and who have licensed social workers with degrees in the field, are selected as placement sites for social work interns. This assumes a willingness to work closely with interns and the faculty liaison to develop learning practice experiences and to provide, at a minimum, individual weekly supervision.

The overall responsibility of the agency is to provide a climate in which the intern can move from observing and shadowing to participating in the work and responsibilities of professional staff.

  1. To establish a process to interview and select prospective interns.
  2. To demonstrate an interest in and commitment to student education, demonstrated by a willingness to assign staff time and energy to intern supervision, attendance at workshops for field instructors and consultation with the faculty liaison.
  3. To assign one specific agency worker, a licensed BSW/MSW, known as a field instructor, to supervise the intern.
  4. In conjunction with the prospective intern and Field Director develop an internship contract, to guide students to the internship.
  5. To complete, sign and return the Agency Data form (Appendix F)
  6. To provide the student with a detailed orientation to the agency – policies, services, goals, purposes and clientele during the early weeks of the internship that includes:
  • Orientation schedule
  • “Nitty-gritty” info: parking, bathrooms, eating facilities, dress requirements, break times, holidays, telephone instructions, signing in and out, introductions to staff, how intern should identify herself/himself
  • Instructions regarding technology
  • Specific recording instructions
  • Specific confidentiality requirements
  • Access to intra-agency and community phone directories, procedure manuals, human resources within the community, any special reference books, i.e., DSM IV, federal privacy act and any other reference material that is likely used on a regular basis
  • Information on any special security precautions
  • Discuss the human elements to the work, stress, fears, anxieties, frustrations, failures and the need to process with someone. What can be processed with persons outside of the agency
  • Describe supervisory approach. What agency expects from the student
  • Provide the student with a glossary of acronyms, symbols, jargon and technical terms unique to the agency.
  • Review the student’s coursework and discuss the knowledge and skills acquired in consideration of that required to perform the social work duties within the agency. Note the emphasis on systems approach
  1. To provide a minimum of one hour per week of scheduled individual supervision that includes review of the intern’s assignments with constructive feedback and creates an opportunity to integrate theory with practice experience.

Responsibilities of the Intern:

The overall responsibility of the student is to devote himself/herself to the learning of helpful interaction with service users.

  1. To obtain at least an 80% grade on written and oral assignments in the internship.
  2. To negotiate the internship contract with the Field Instructor and the Field Director.
  3. To follow agency policies with regard to time schedules, regulations, and matters of dress.
  4. To prepare agendas for discussions with the Field Director and Field Instructor.
  5. To leave word with the agency secretary and or supervisor as to where s/he is and when s/he will return.
  6. To report absences and reasons for absences immediately to the Field Instructor.
  7. To participate in her/his midterm and final evaluations with the Field Instructor.
  8. To participate in an evaluation of the Social Work Department.
  9. To write a short assessment of the internship placement at the end of her/his internship (Appendix I).
  10. To carry out an evaluation of the Field Instructor (Appendix J).
  11. To complete assignments for the internship seminar.
  12. To participate in an end of term discussion and complete the Skills and Services Feedback form (Appendix K).
  13. To evaluate the Field Director / Course Evaluation (Appendix L).
  14. To provide evidence of having completed the 480 hours including attendance at a minimum of one workshop or conference, a minimum of two agency visits.

Problem Solving Expectations:

  1. If the agency site supervisor or the student experiences a problem during the internships, the first step is to talk with each other about it.  Most common type of problems relate to job duties, relationship with co-workers or misunderstandings between supervisor and the intern.
  2. If the problem is not resolved in a timely manner, the Faculty Liaison should be notified as soon as possible.
  3. The Faculty Liaison will work in collaboration with the Field Instructor, site supervisor, and intern to resolve the problem in a professional and expedient way.