The Value of Social Work Practicum Experience
“What do you want to do when you graduate?” is a question I hear frequently, and my answer is always changing. I currently am a student at IUPUI in the Master’s of Social Work program while holding my job as a care manager at CICOA. My advice for those working while attending school is that it can be daunting, but it is definitely manageable.
As a student, it is expected that you will complete various internships prior to graduating. I have always had a dream to work with geriatrics, so as the deadline approached to make a decision about my practicum placement, I decided to look into an employment-based practicum.
For my employment-based practicum, I interned as a field options counselor under CICOA’s Healthcare Collaboration department. I was located within the geriatric clinic at Methodist Hospital. While there, I was able to assess individuals of their needs for various in-home services and community resources. This internship gave me an opportunity to see social work in a hospital and clinic-based setting, rather than solely through my work as an in-home care manager. I also was able to participate within an interprofessional team and utilize person-centered techniques with this team, as well as with the patient.
For me, completing an employment-based practicum was extremely insightful. After working at CICOA for more than two years, I wondered what more I could learn. Well, the answer is a lot. This opportunity showed me two similar yet very different roles for a professional social worker. Furthermore, it pushed me to work hard and apply my learning, not only within my internship, but also within my career at CICOA.