If only we could pay our internship supervisors for the work that they do with GSSW students. Unfortunately, almost all supervisors and field instructors agree to have a student intern because they are interested in being part of our students’ training and education. Over and over again we hear field instructors say things like “it is my way of giving back to the profession” or “I remember how important my supervisor was to me and I want to help a student learn”. We are very fortunate to have such a large pool of dedicated field instructors.
In order to be a field instructor or MSW supervisor, people must have had their MSW for a minimum of 2 years. They also need to be willing to spend the time that is needed to supervise a student and they need to know their area of social work practice well enough to teach somebody else. They also have to come to a field instructor training here at GSSW. Some of my favorite days here are those when we have supervisor trainings. Our field instructors are totally cool and it is a real treat when they are in the building! They are excited about having students and they really work hard to do a good job. They are open to feedback which goes a long way if there are problems that need to be solved.
We couldn’t do what we do here without the partnership of our field instructors. If you come to GSSW you will interview for your internships. We will encourage you to make sure that you fit well with the person who will be your supervisor. This is sometimes even more important than the setting that you are in or the specific work that you are doing because the most progress toward becoming a professional social worker comes through the guidance of a good supervisor.
Sometimes students intern at a place where they have more than one supervisor. You will always have an MSW supervisor but you might also have what we call a Task Supervisor. Task supervisors need to have an advanced degree and/or need to have been in the field long enough to be able to supervise an MSW student. For example, there might be somebody who has worked in a geriatric setting for 30 years but who does not have an MSW. That extremely experienced person might play a role in your supervision, along with your MSW supervisor. In other situations there might be a psychologist or nurse or teacher or doctor or even a lawyer who will be part of your supervisory team.
Let me know if you have any questions about our internship program. I can “talk internship” all day!