Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Five University of Alabama Students Begin Internships at Walter Reed

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Five University of Alabama Students Begin Internships at Walter Reed

Article excerpt

Senior Shankitta Brown and four other University of Alabama students will spend the fall semester at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as the first interns in a new undergraduate social work program at the facility in Bethesda, Md.

The program launched this year is the first for undergraduates majoring in social work anywhere in the Department of Defense.

Brown, 21, of York is joined by Caroline Miller of Charlotte, N.C.; Stephanie Craig of Pace, Fla.; Nicholas Marshalek of Flower Mound, Texas; and Keri Warren of Decatur.

The internship, which began Aug. 20, will last the entire fall semester.

The first week has been training and orientation as the students prepare to begin work with their supervisors, Brown said.

The interns are paired with supervisors at the medical center based on their interests. Brown said the students will spend roughly half their time with each supervisor during the internship.

Brown is working with transplant and dialysis patients, but will begin working with neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery.

The students will participate in a rotation at the hospital, gaining experience in medical social work, group work, multi- disciplinary treatment team participation, care coordination and referral, crisis intervention, administrative and policy implementation, risk assessment, as well as service learning opportunities, said Carroll Phelps, the coordinator for the UA School of Social Work's Washington, D.C., internship programs.

"At the beginning they are learning ... by mid semester they are beginning to act completely autonomously and carry a caseload," Phelps said.

The students will have direct contact with patients and their families. Most patients are active duty military personnel and their families, Phelps said.

(Walter Reed) has put together the rotation program to offer compressive experience with many different facets of social workers," Phelps said.

The students will work full time at Walter Reed and also participate in a seminar class taught in the capital by Phelps.

The Walter Reed program will join other internship opportunities, which undergraduate students in the program typically complete in the fall semester of their senior year, said Javonda Williams, chair of the BSW program at the UA School of Social Work. …

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