My social work internship with NeighborhoodHELP

Name: Carl-Ashlie Michel

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

What degree are you pursuing?

Master of Social Work. (As an undergrad, I majored in pyschology and criminal justice and earned an FIU degree in 2017.)

Where did you intern?

I interned – virtually – throughout the summer semester with the Green Family Foundation’s NeighborhoodHELP, a signature program of FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine that immerses in the community not only medical students but social work, nursing and physician assistant students, along with others, to address the needs of low-incomes families.

What did you do during your internship?

I provided supportive counseling, referrals for community services and resources to 14 households and completed documentation for each case. I also collaborated with the interprofessional team (doctor, nursing student, med student) during telehealth visits to identify household needs and insecurities.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process?

Be flexible and ask lots of questions. Never feel like you are over-asking because this is a vital part of your journey! Learn as much as you can and have fun.

How did your internship connect back to your coursework?

The internship experience brought to reality scenarios I read about through coursework and allowed me to learn from my suggested interventions or case plans. Also, having a mentor/supervisor to discuss my approach and ways to better myself as a professional was super beneficial.

What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship?

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted my internship in a significant way. It limited our face-to-face interactions and forced us to be strategic and creative in order to meet clients’ needs. So, whether it was aiding with an application (via Zoom or phone) or researching for local resources, I enjoyed looking into the community for these services to meet the household needs and insecurities. 

What did you like most about your experience?

The flexibility of my internship. When I received my caseload, I reached out to my clients and generated a schedule that was best for both of us. I remained consistent for the duration of the semester, and it allowed me to connect and establish rapport very quickly with each family.

What did you learn about yourself?

My adaptability skills are exceptional. During my two-year program, I have experienced four internship placements, and I was able to learn quickly and adapt to the each of the various organizations’ missions, goals, cultures, and responsibilities in a short period of time.

How did the position increase your professional confidence?

Prior to this experience, I was not comfortable discussing cases with doctors, nurses or other medical staff because of the clinical verbiage and expectations of social workers to make that client connection. My confidence and ability to hold a conversation, effectively discuss a client’s needs and propose a care plan have surpassed my expectations. I will forever be grateful for this experience. Thanks, FIU!  

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