External Clinical Placements
A student’s first clinical assignment is always in our own outpatient clinic. Clinical assignments in our clinic continue for three semesters on average. In our clinic, you are no longer titled, identified, or treated as a student. In our clinic, you are an Associate Clinician. Our clinical learning experiences are all about your growth as a professional, a clinician, and as an independent decision maker. We approach clinical instruction as two adults (Associate Clinician and Clinical Instructor) sharing the responsibility of providing best-practice to our clients. Our expectations are high and achievable.
Associate Clinicians complete two clinical externships. The externships are roughly half time appointments at an affiliating clinical site. Each externship is a semester-long assignment.
One externship is completed in a local school system; the other externship is completed in a medical setting. Every student completes one of each. Students return from their externship site to attend classes and provide clinical services in the SJC.
The final semester is a full-time 16-week clinical internship. A few internship sites are located in the Charlottesville region, but most are scattered across Virginia and the United States. Internships consist of school systems and medically based settings in NC-SARA approved states (http://nc-sara.org/sara-states-institutions) and in other states, but only under very special circumstances.
Every returning intern completes a structured assessment of their internship site (e.g., how many patients did you see?, What types of clinical populations did you work with?, What was the cultural diversity of the clientele?, How helpful was your supervisor?, What were living conditions like?, Do you recommend the site to other students?). Those assessments are compiled on our clinic website and available to all prospective interns.
We ask students to propose three preferred internship sites. To the extent possible, we place them in their top choice site, but we do need backup options. Sometimes a student selects an internship site based on the site assessment information. Sometimes they select a completely new site where we haven't previously placed an intern. Their choice might be driven by closeness to home, or perhaps the city or state they intend to live in, or perhaps a certain type of facility because that's the type of facility in which they would like to begin their career.
Affiliating Practicum Sites
For externships and internships, we maintain contracts with about 30 schools and about 30 medically-based sites. We maintain and establish contracts with many more contracts for internships placements, both in schools and medically-based sites.