Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finding a Placement

by Rachel W., Panther Blogger

One of the best parts about earning a bachelor's degree in Social Work is that the opportunities after graduation are endless.  One of the most appealing things to me is that I can either start my career immediately after graduation or I can continue my education and earn a master's degree in Social Work.

I think that internships are a vital part of becoming a professional social worker.  The professors here at Ferrum College are amazing, but nothing can compare to the real life experience you earn from taking an internship. I am currently taking a professional preparation class where we talk about what we need to do after graduation and we try to find the best internship to meet our personal and professional needs.

Last semester, I lost a very close family member. Watching my loved one pass away was one of the hardest experiences of my life.  However, with the help of loving family members, wonderful friends, amazing nurses, and a devoted pastor, I learned that death can be a peaceful good-bye that leaves you with a sense of closure and relief.  Without the help of those around me, I would have never been able to experience such a sad life event and still come out with a positive mindset.  So, I wanted to know if there was a way I could help others through similar life events like this.

That's when I learned about Hospice from Professor West and Professor Bowling.  Hospice care is "a family-centered team approach that includes a doctor, nurse, social worker, counselor, chaplain, home health aide, and trained volunteers.  They work together focusing on the dying person's needs - physical, psychological, social and spiritual."
Me with Professors West (left) and Bowling (right)

At Ferrum College, we have what is called an Experiential Term, or E-Term.  This is a three-week class where you have opportunities to take internships, travel abroad, or even catch up on core classes.  I will be taking an E-Term class this May, and it will be an internship at a local Hospice agency.  I am so excited to experience the career first-hand.  I know that Hospice is something that takes a special person to do, and I am extremely thankful that I will have a "trial run" to see how things work and to see if this would be the right fit for me long-term.

Professor Bowling, the professor in charge of placements, takes a long time to make sure an agency is fully prepared and can provide each student with an educational and skill-developing experience.  She personally meets with those who will supervise students the agencies.  She makes sure that every placement is the best fit and that each student will get the most from this opportunity.

My goal with this internship is to go in with an open mind and find out if a career in Hospice care or something similar is right for me.  I'm excited that I have this opportunity and thankful that I am in a Social Work Program that takes no shortcuts in preparing students for their careers!

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