I greatly enjoyed my internship at Beth Israel Deaconess’ social work department. Although I was working mostly with the department’s Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery (CVPR), I had the opportunity to learn about several other types of hospital social work, including in obstetrics/gynecology and the emergency department. I learned a lot about what I may want to pursue in the future, and I think I would enjoy both working at a hospital and doing inpatient social work. I’d like to continue my education with a master’s in social work.
The importance of this type of work was clear to me after working with CVPR and the social work department. Social work was there to provide not only advocacy and resources for patients, but also psychological support and mental health care that nurses and doctors didn’t have the time or training to provide. Specifically for CVPR, it was evident how crucial a contact point health care can be for people who are in need of resources such as shelter, addiction treatment, trauma-informed mental health care, and domestic violence safety planning. I saw how easy it is for our society and institutions to let people slip through the cracks of social support (especially people of color and/or other marginalized identities). It was clear how much of a need exists for support networks—such as the Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery—that attempt to seal these cracks.
Working with CVPR, I assisted with several projects and collaborated with many of the CVPR’s staff. Along with the Center’s director, I updated the CVPR website to include current information and resources, and to increase accessibility of these resources and information. The new and improved website is now up on the Beth Israel Deaconess site!
The project I most enjoyed was conducting research for and writing a draft of a chapter on the trauma and neurobiology of sexual assault for a book by the Victim Rights Law Center, which provides free civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault.
If I were to give advice to a younger me who is interested in social work but not sure where to start, I would encourage myself to research and experience the many ways that there are to be a social worker. Many stereotypes exist in how social work (and mental health care in general) is perceived by the general public, and I would encourage myself to do the research to discover how vast and diverse of a field it really is. This summer, I learned that there are so many different careers under the label of “social worker,” and I started thinking about what kind of career I might like to have. My internship at Beth Israel gave me not only experience and connections, but a clearer image of what my professional path may look like. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and explore, and I am excited to continue doing so in the future.