BSW students are in field internships for concurrent placements over two semesters totaling 430 hours the last two semesters of their undergraduate program. The students usually complete 16 hours per week in an agency and hours can be split any way that meets the needs of both the student and agency. Schedules should reflect times that are optimal for both. Student’s should follow the university’s academic calendar which outlines holidays and deadlines. Students also attend a seminar class for two hours once a week to help them integrate classroom knowledge and skills in a community setting.
The field experience for BSW interns should include:
- Psychosocial assessments, interviewing, problem-solving, and supportive counseling with individuals, families and/or groups as well as completing the associated paperwork
- Indirect client work
- Professional or educational meetings/workshops
- Evaluation (i.e. data collection, outcomes development)
- Case management (resource allocation and referral)
- Advocacy and planned social change work
Supervision at the internship must be provided by a BSW with at least two years post-BSW work experience. This person is the Field Instructor and is an extension of our social work faculty, responsible for instructing and role modeling. The Field Instructor must meet with the student for a minimum of one hour per week. The Office of Field Education staff provides orientation for the Field Instructors, providing them with information necessary to facilitate a successful internship. We are also required by The Council on Social Work Education, our accrediting body, to have proof of the degree so we ask that the Field Instructor provide us with a copy of their diploma or license.
The student may be under the direct daily supervision of a person without a social work degree. This person is called the Task Supervisor. We would expect that the Task Supervisor hold a degree and several years' experience in a human service position. Although the Field Instructor will take the lead role in coordinating the instruction of the student, the Task Supervisor will work closely with the student to achieve learning objectives.
The internship process is detailed and requires an application, an interview with the Director of BSW Field Education and an interview with the proposed Field Instructor as well as other agency personnel as required by the agency. Internship agencies may have additional requirements for interns, such as an application process, background check, drug screen etc.
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) requires an agreement with the field practicum agency. This agreement states that ETSU Department of Social Work will be permitted to place social work students with the agency for the purpose of completing their field practicum in social work. This agreement needs to be updated every five years, and is initiated and updated by our contract procurement office.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about our field education program.
Pam Davison, LMSW
Director of BSW Field Education