Graduate Student Training Program

MSW - Graduate Student Training Program for Social Work Interns

Recognizing the responsibility to participate in the training of professional social workers, the Department of Social Work is affiliated with the Boston University School of Social Work, Boston College School of Social Work, Smith College School of Social Work, Simmons College School of Social Work and Salem State School of Social Work.

Social work interns have the opportunity to work with patients, families and groups from a variety of social, cultural, emotional and economic backgrounds in a Medical-Surgical and/or OB/Gyn division. The social work intern provides psychosocial assessments, diagnosis, treatment, discharge planning and community follow-up during the course of the patient’s illness. Experience is gained in providing services to both hospital inpatients and outpatients. The intern will be expected to formulate, coordinate and implement the psychosocial component of the patient/family care plan through collaboration with physicians, nurses, other health professionals and community resources.

Basic Expectations / Educational Opportunities

Twenty-four hours/week spent at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of which approximately 16-18 hours is devoted to activities directly related to patient care. This includes direct patient/family contact, consultation/collaboration with other professionals within and outside the hospital and with community agencies. The intern carries 10-15 patients and co-leads a specialty support group.

In addition to clinical opportunities, the social work intern has weekly individual supervision, weekly educational student seminars, student support group, psychiatry rounds and presenting cases for consultation.


  • Receives orientation to hospital setting, services, introductions to various staff and administrative procedures
  • Gains familiarity with structure / organization / philosophy of health care setting and comfort in negotiating the system
  • Development of Educational Contract: goals and expectations of the internship

The Educational Focus is on the Following:

  • Interviews and ongoing assessments of patients and families including: impact of illness, prognosis, developmental stage, ego strengths and weakness, social, cultural and environmental factors.
  • Development of knowledge and skill including: the ability to establish a relationship and use it differentially, understanding of theoretical knowledge to practice, integration of crisis intervention, theory and techniques, short and long term treatment, opportunity to develop skills in working with individuals, family systems theory, group process and staff issues.

Role of Coordinator Graduate Student Training:

  • Designs, develops and implements the educational program
  • Meets individually with the student and supervisor to review educational objectives and progress monthly
  • Collaborates with the supervisor in evaluating student progress and learning needs
  • Services as a consultant to the student supervisor
  • Evaluates the quality and effectiveness of the training received
  • Analyzes the quality and effectiveness of the social work intern program


The student supervisor is the major educational resource to the student in field placement. They formulate and evaluate the student learning needs and develop an educational contract.

  • Selects and assigns cases appropriate to the social worker’s learning needs
  • Responsible for the daily teaching of the intern. Meeting with them for at least 1 1/2 hours weekly and helping them to integrate theory and clinical practice.
  • Works collaboratively with the Coordinator of Graduate Student Training in reviewing and evaluating the educational objectives and progress.
  • Reviews social work goals and progress in achieving them monthly.

Consulting Social Workers

The social work intern is oriented to the various medical/surgical and OB/Gyn Divisions by the social worker assigned to that specialty area. They will serve as a consultant to the intern and supervisor on psychosocial issues pertinent to the care of patients and families.

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