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All Columbia VAHCS outpatient clinics & admin offices will be closed on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2024. Dial 911 or visit the closest emergency department in a life-threatening emergency. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency dial the Veteran Crisis Line at 988 or text 83255

Social Work Graduate Student Internship Program

The Veterans Health Administration operates the largest and most comprehensive clinical training program for social workers. The Columbia VA Health Care System’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Health Professions Trainee (HPT) Program offers Advanced Standing and second year MSW students a unique opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and learn about many areas of social work in a healthcare setting.

Stipends

Clinical internship positions come with a stipend. The Macro Social Work track, however, is a non-stipend placement. Stipends are subject to availability. 

Internship Duration

HPTs follow their institutions established academic calendar, usually starting in August and ending in April. 

 Practicum hours requirements: 

  • Social Work Health Professions Trainees (HPTs), also referred to as interns, must complete at least:
     
    • 500 practicum hours over two semesters. 
    • 16 hours, two eight-hour days each week, in their practicum.   

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be: 

  • In the second year of their MSW program or Advanced Standing at the time of their internship.
  • Enrolled in one of these affiliated schools: 
    • Florida State University 
    • Savannah State University  
    • University of Alabama 
    • University of Kentucky 
    • University of North Carolina Charlotte 
    • University of South Carolina
    • Winthrop University 

Internship Placements

Mental Health Track

General Outpatient Mental Health (GOMH) Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). The GOMH intern will implement individual and group evidence-based treatments for patients with mental health diagnoses. Interns will learn to evaluate mental health needs through a biopsychosocial assessment, recommend treatment, coordinate referrals, and work on an interdisciplinary team. Interns will also have the opportunity to receive training and six months of consultation to become a VA-approved provider in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) upon licensure.  Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Suicide Prevention (Dual Clinic & Community-Based Practice – Columbia only.  The Suicide Prevention Program integrates clinical and community practices to support veterans' mental and physical health, ensuring community integration. Interns engage in case management, deliver community-based interventions, and coordinate care. They also educate providers, veterans, and community partners on suicide prevention, including risk factors, warning signs, and treatment options, while contributing to local prevention initiatives. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Trauma Recovery Program (TRP) TRP is a specialty mental health clinic focused on the treatment of Veterans with a primary diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The intern will be responsible for implementing individual and group evidence-based treatments for PTSD, ranging from trauma-focused treatment modalities, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE), to symptom specific treatments, such as Seeking Safety and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i).  At least one-year prior work or field experience in mental health is preferred. 

Medical Social Work Track

Acute-Inpatient Medicine and Medical Intensive Care Units (MICU) - Columbia only. Acute social workers complete assessments within 48 hours of a patient's admission to the hospital and coordinate discharge to home or community facilities. The intern will assist with assessments, compile reports, and provide VA and community services referrals. The intern will work with an interdisciplinary medical team on the hospital wards and specialty services. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm, and option for afternoons and weekends 

Caregiver Support Program (CSP) – Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). Caregivers provide vital assistance and in-home care to Veterans and their family members. The caregiver program assists post-9/11 Veterans and their caregivers, while the General Caregiver Program assists all caregivers of any era Veteran. The intern will conduct case reviews, provide recommendations regarding placement in the program, address and document immediate caregiver and Veteran needs, and evaluate Veteran’s progress in the program through quarterly interviews.  Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Dialysis/RenalColumbia only. The intern will provide case management and complete assessments for hemodialysis patients at Dorn VAMC. In addition, the intern will assist with kidney transplant assessments and dialysis education. Students interested in this placement need to be comfortable working in a medical setting and with the sight of blood since they will interact with Veterans while on the dialysis machine. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Emergency Department – Columbia only. The intern will work in the Emergency Department as a part of an interdisciplinary team, primarily addressing crisis intervention, mental health, substance abuse, food insecurity, and homelessness. The intern will complete psychosocial assessments, provide resources and referrals, and be available for general social work consultation. Traditional and non-traditional hours, which may include nights, weekends, or holidays. 

Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) – Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). HCHV Program re-integrates homeless Veterans with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders into the community. Most Veterans require a well-defined supportive treatment plan that includes psychiatric assessment, case management, counseling, medical consultation, bio-psychosocial treatment, and rehabilitation. The intern completes clinical assessments and treatment plans, answers consults, sees walk-ins, responds to calls from the homeless hotline, and makes referrals to various community resources. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA Supportive Housing (HUD/VASH)– Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). HUD/VASH case managers assess Veterans for meeting the program requirements. Most case management visits occur in the Veteran’s home or other community locations. HUD/VASH social workers also provide case management to assist Veterans in maintaining their housing. The HUD-VASH intern completes home visits with their field instructor, provides referrals to community resources, facilitates groups, completes treatment plans, and provides case management.  Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Geriatric Social Work-CLC (Community Living Center – Skilled Nursing Home Facility) – Columbia only. The CLC intern provides case management and complete assessments for inpatient short-term and long-term care residents. In addition, the intern will assist with the Respite Program. The intern will gain in-depth experience with VA geriatric and extended care programs, working with trained geriatricians, geriatric nurse practitioners, geriatric pharmacist, and other highly specialized team members.  Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) Program– Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). HBPC Program provides primary health care to eligible Veterans in their homes when care in the outpatient clinics is not possible or recommended. The intern will work with a multidisciplinary team. The HBPC Program provides Veterans with needed medical follow-up. HBPC also provides education to veterans and their families and supervision in the home for as long as it is safe and appropriate. Weekday internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Inpatient Psychiatric Unit – Columbia only.  Inpatient intern complete assessments for new admissions and coordinate discharge plans for facility placements, halfway houses, inpatient recovery programs, and homeless shelters. The intern will learn probate court involuntary commitment process. The intern will work with an interdisciplinary treatment team. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP)– Columbia only. VA IPVAP helps Veterans, their partners, caregivers, families, and VA staff who are impacted by intimate partner violence. The intern will assist with responding to urgent and non-urgent consults for those experiencing violence and take part in outreach to raise awareness. The intern will also assist with the delivery of group and individual evidence-based interventions. IPVAP intern will learn Strength at Home evidenced-based intervention. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) Program– Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) - The aim of the PCMHI Program is to help deliver evidence-based care for primary care patients with various emotional and mental health problems. The intern will complete structured diagnostic and clinical assessments, provide psychoeducation, develop a treatment plan, and determine the level of care. The intern will communicate evaluations and recommendations to primary care and behavioral health providers. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 

Primary Care Social Work – Columbia & Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). Primary care intern will conduct psychosocial assessments with Veterans to assess needs and develop interventions such as initiating Housebound/Aide and Attendance exams, conducting memory assessments, advance care planning, and linkage to VA and community resources. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm 
 
Spinal Cord Injury – Columbia only. The intern will work with Veterans who have a diagnosis of spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, ALS, or other related disorders. The primary role will include learning the basics of each disorder – causes, treatment, physical and emotional effects, care issues, and caregiver support. The intern will complete psychosocial assessments and coordinate all aspects of care with the medical provider, nurse, and other ancillary staff.   Weekday Internship, flexible schedule  

Transition and Care Management (TCM) – Columbia & Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). TCM provides case management services to severely injured post-9/11 combat service members and Veterans who are transferring care from the Department of Defense and other facilities. The intern will assist service members and Veterans in coping with acute and chronic illness, combat stress, readjustment, addictions, and mental health problems. The intern will also evaluate the need for mental health services and makes treatment referrals.  Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program- Columbia and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). Interns will work alongside a VJO social worker who provides legally involved Veterans with linkages to VA and community resources addressing clinical needs and fostering stability. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

Macro Social Work Track 

Social Work Analyst Trainee – Columbia only. This is a non-stipend internship. VHA only provides stipends for clinical social work HPTs. This non-paid work experience provides macro-focused students with training and practical job experience. Macro intern will have opportunities to further develop their skills and knowledge in public policy, research, process improvement, program evaluation, program planning and development, public service leadership, and human capital management. Interns will also receive training in business writing, lean, human centered design (HCD), project management, agile, and change management. This position is possibly hybrid eligible. Weekday Internship, 8 am-4:30 pm  

How to Apply

Note: Applicants can only submit one application either for Dorn or CBOC placements.

Please download the applications for Dorn VAMC and Columbia VAHCS CBOCs below:

Contact

R. Xavier Green MSOL, MBA, MSW, LMSW

Social Work Graduate Student Health Professions Trainee Program Director, Social Work Training and Education Coordinator

VA Columbia South Carolina health care

Phone:

Email: vhacmsmswstudentinternship2@va.gov