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Social Worker Student and Intern Program

The purpose of this webpage is to make the on-boarding of all future social work students and interns more efficient. The information provided on this page has the required documents you will need to complete PRIOR to interning at the Phoenix VA Social Work Department.

Social Work Student Guidelines

Mission Statement:  
To provide a robust training and educational opportunity, in a welcoming atmosphere, to masters level social work students. Students will be prepared for the unique challenges social workers face in the workplace.

Internship Goals Include:
• Develop biopsychosocial assessment skills
• Develop suicide risk assessment skills
• Develop suicide prevention safety plan creation skills
• Develop clinical intervention skills such as (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing)
• Develop case management skills
• Develop the ability to facilitate group and individual therapy
• Develop discharge planning skills
• Learn how to work effectively on an interdisciplinary team
• Learn how to complete advance directives
• Learn how to provide psychoeducation
• Develop an understanding of internal and external resources available to the Veteran population
• Resource referral and allocation skills

NOTE: These are broad goals.  Your personal goals will be influenced by your placement.

Assessment Methods:
Social work students will be assessed using the goals outlined on their individual learning contract. This assessment will utilize input from Task Supervisors as well as other VA staff you have contact with during your internship. Throughout your internship, you will be given the support needed to be successful. Concerns in performance will be discussed with the student and the university’s field liaison. If there are significant concerns during the first semester, the student may not return for internship during the second semester.

Location and Address:
Phoenix VA Health Care System 
650 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85012-1892

Social Work Student Work Group:              
Chair: Christopher Harris, LCSW
Member: Jeanette Devevo, LCSW
Member: Sarah Hartz, LCSW
Member: Robert Heinz, LCSW
Member: Rebecca Hinchcliff, LMSW
Member: Aleishia James-Cooper, LCSW
Member: Paloma Kwiedacz, LMSW
Member: Regina Sharp, LCSW
Member: Michelle Sullivan, LCSW

Open House:
This event is designed for students to attend and learn about different placements that are available through the Phoenix VA Health Care System.  Social workers from several of the programs will be available for questions. This event is an excellent time for you to ask questions and determine if interning at the Phoenix VA is a good fit for you. This event is usually held at the beginning of each calendar year.  ASU students please see Sonia for specific date. Additionally, you may e-mail Christopher.Harris5@va.gov to obtain information regarding the date of open house or other questions regarding a social work internship with the PVAHCS.

Internship Orientation:
The first 2.5 weeks of your internship you will be in orientation. Several topics will be covered during orientation.  Some of them include: mandated reporting, client decision making capacity, understanding the VA pay system, petitioning and court ordered treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression and anxiety, Motivational Interviewing (MI), understanding the VA electronic medical record system, Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behaviors (PMDB), social work ethics, suicide prevention, and professional boundaries.

Stipend Information:
The Phoenix VA is authorized several stipend positions and there are non-stipend positions available. The compensation is appropriately $12 a hour. Students will receive compensation for a maximum of 16 hours a week. You are not guaranteed a stipend position.

Internship Days:
Tuesday and Thursday are the standard internship days. There may be some availability of other days. However, this cannot be guaranteed.

Internship Duration:
Many universities require 480 hours per internship. However, as the VA internship is a stipend; students are required to complete 500 hours.

Internship Hours:
There is some flexibility with work hours. This will depend on your placement and the schedule of the staff you are working with. Average work hours are 7:30AM to 4:00PM.

Requirements for starting your internship:
Students are asked to complete the following documents, OF 306 and VA 10-2850D, PRIOR to your interview. Once the forms are completed please e-mail them the Chair of the Social Work Student Committee.  If you were selected for an internship at the Phoenix VA please complete all of the below documents expect for the OF 306 and VA 10-2850D, as you completed them prior to your interview. These documents need to be completed FOUR MONTHS PRIOR to the start of the internship in August.  If you do not have the proper codes or a “PIV” card, you will not be allowed to begin the internship. A PIV card and computer codes are required for you to access patient information. You’ll need to fill out all forms below in a timely manner to be able to intern at the Phoenix VA Social Work Department.

The below two documents must be completed prior to your interview.

There will be two packets of information you will need to complete. The Social Work Intern New Hire Packet should be completed first. It must contain the following information.
• Internship Confirmation Form (Provided by your University and may be completed after this packet is submitted if you don’t have a form provided to you at time of packet submission)
• Proof of US Citizenship
• Signed Job Description

The second packet of information will be the Trainee Qualifications and Credentials Verification Letter (TQCVL): A detailed explanation of these documents can be found below:
• Proof of US Citizenship
• US Social Security Numbers
• Selective Service From (If applicable) 
• Provider Database 
• List of Excluded Individuals and Entities  
• TB Test (obtained from your university or PCP)
• HEP-B Vaccination (obtained from your university or PCP)
• Most recent flu shot record (obtained from your university or PCP)
• Medical Clearance Signed by Medical Provider (obtained from your university or PCP)

Finally, you will need to contact the PIV office at the Phoenix VA to have your fingerprints taken and have a PIV card issued.  PIV should be completed 90 days before your rotation start date to ensure you receive system access.

Fingerprint certification from PIV (Must be done at the Phoenix VA, if you have questions on getting your fingerprints done at another VA please reach out to the Social Work Student Committee Chair.  Fingerprints have to be done on location and WE will not accept a FINGERPRINT CARD from outside the VA)

*If all documents are not completed prior to your internship start date, you will not be allowed to begin your internship.

Tips:
• Show interest and enthusiasm for patient care and your profession. We want you to enjoy and learn a lot during this internship.
• Arrive early for your shift and participate with your team. Be organized and inform others of information as you integrate into the team.
• Complete all requested documents before the deadline.
• Effective communication is key.  Never assume someone knows what is going on.
• Bring information and questions to clinical supervision. YOU determine how much you get out of clinical supervision.  
• Do not be shy, we want to get to know you. You will find that learning opportunities are often all around as long as you recognize the moments, make inquiries and pursuits.
• Show courtesy and professionalism to those you encounter: patients, staff, residents, nurses, and all. This is very important.
• Be organized and inform others of information regarding your clients as you integrate into the team.

For questions contact Chris Harris, LCSW at Christopher.Harris5@va.gov or call 480-287-1403.

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