Internship

CRITERIA FOR ORGANIZATIONS TO BE INTERNSHIP SITES

The gerontology internship is based on the premise that a structured work experience enhances the student’s instructional program. Students are in the midst of developing professional goals, and an experience in a gerontological setting and involvement in an organizational environment will aid students in determining or refining their career goals. Before any organization is used as an internship placement, the Internship office will determine the appropriateness of the organization as an internship site based on the following criteria:

  • Direct involvement in planning, coordinating or providing services for older adults
  • A supportive learning environment, including support of the internship program and of gerontological education
  • Willingness to allocate necessary resources to the student intern including space, and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses (such as parking)
  • Opportunities for students to participate in a range of experiences for learning related to students’ career goals
  • Willingness to designate a qualified person as an internship preceptor. This individual should be a professional staff person who has at least two (2) years of experience in the field of gerontology. Masters degree in a human services related field is preferred
  • Preceptor supports student intern in developing and implementing Learning Agreement which includes learning activities focused on gerontology competencies, completes mid-semester ratings, and provides a final evaluation of the student intern at the end of the semester
  • Preceptor supports student intern in developing and implementing Learning Agreement which includes learning activities focused on gerontology competencies
  • Preceptor provides a minimum of one (1) hour of direct supervision a week
  • Preceptor is available for a (1) hour Mid-Semester Review meeting during the mid-point of the semester to review agreed-upon learning activities and identify ways to ensure a positive internship experience for all
  • If a student desires placement at a site which is new to the internship program (i.e., there is not an active Affiliation Agreement on file), internship office staff must conduct a visit to the site and interviews with preceptor(s) before intern can be placed

Required Hours for the Internship Course

  • Undergraduate students in GERO 491 Practicum = 120+ hours (~10 hours/week)
  • Undergraduate students in GERO 495 Geriatric Practicum = between 60-120 hours (depending on other coursework components)
  • Graduate students in GERO 591 Field Practicum = 240+ hours (~20 hours/week)

Create an Internship Description

An internship description is one of the best ways to get students interested and excited about the work they will be doing with you. Sections to consider including are: a summary of the position; essential duties and responsibilities; qualifications; education or experience required; language, mathematical, or reasoning skills; physical demands; any other skills or abilities required; and a description of the work environment. Focusing on benefits to the intern, such as transferable skills, noteworthy experiences, or professional connections they might make, will help to make this opportunity more attractive. If you would like additional support, please contact Dr. Anna Quyen Nguyen at annaquyen.nguyen@usc.edu.

PRIOR TO THE INTERNSHIP

Before student interns can be placed with you, our Affiliation Agreement would need to be signed by an appropriate representative. It will also be signed by USC’s Vice Provost for Academic Operations and the Davis School of Gerontology’s Associate Dean. Most organizations will sign the document as-is; if your legal counsel would like to make alterations, please contact Dr. Anna Quyen Nguyen at annaquyen.nguyen@usc.edu to facilitate that process.

Identifying a Preceptor

  • The preceptor will be the main contact person at the internship site for the Director of Internship Training during a student intern’s placement and will provide guidance/leadership and determine appropriate tasks and responsibilities.
  • The preceptor should be a professional staff person who has at least two (2) years of experience in the field of gerontology. Masters degree in a human services related field is preferred.
  • The preceptor will support the student intern in developing and implementing the Learning Agreement which includes learning activities focused on gerontology competencies.
  • The preceptor will provide a minimum of one (1) hour of direct supervision a week.

DURING THE INTERNSHIP

In the internship course, the Learning Agreement is created and finalized by the Student Intern and Preceptor at the beginning of the semester and is used to capture learning activities that will help student interns develop mastery in Gerontology Competencies. It will be used during the mid-semester and end of semester as an evaluation tool; please find a general timeline here. Student Interns will take the lead on completing this document; please visit bit.ly/USCGeroLearningAgreementTraining for a short training video.

Mid-Semester Review

During the middle of the semester (e.g., Fall = late September to late October; Spring = mid-February to mid-March; Summer = late June to early July), a Mid-Semester Review meeting will be conducted with the Student Intern, Preceptor, and Director of Internship Training present; additional staff supporting the Student Intern can be present, as appropriate. If possible, the meeting will take place at the internship site; video conference or teleconference are also options. In general, the review will last approximately 60 minutes and cover what has gone well during the internship, what areas could use improvement, and what additional supports (if any) should be put in place to ensure a successful internship experience.