Field Spotlights: MSW students David (’23) and Belle (’23) share about Crossroads and Gateway Community Services

Student: David Norman

Where was your first year placement? Crossroads in Scarborough

What did your work there entail? Psychosocial Assessments, shadowing IOP for substance use and disordered eating groups, raiding the staff fridge, coffee maker troubleshooting, minor electrical engineering.

What is the most valuable thing you learned during your first year placement? The strategic deployment of humor to foster connection, build morale, and enhance client engagement.

Where is your second year placement? Agape and HETI in Portland.

What will your work there entail? Motivational Interviewing interventions, group therapy facilitation, ideally a minimum of sanitation engineering.

What advice do you have for students choosing a field placement? Work closely with UNE staff, but even more closely with the coordinators at your top choices for placement. Leave nothing to chance, and stay in control of your fate.

Student: Belle Bocal

Where was your first year placement? Gateway Community Services

What did your work there entail? At GCS, I was able to work under Children’s Case Management (CSM) and observe the Counseling Services team. The CSM team assists children and their families by linking them with needed resources and supports, such as mental and behavioral health services, medical care, educational support, extracurricular activities, and resources for parents. Many times, a case manager (like an intern!), is the only way to access more specialized services and can be an invaluable resource to parents who are unfamiliar with the mental/ behavioral health system, who need support in navigating the educational system, or who are simply struggling to find the best ways to manage the unique needs of their children.

What is the most valuable thing you learned during your first year placement? This might be corny, but there’s a Brene Brown quote from her recent book Atlas of the Heart regarding the juxtaposition of anxiety and excitement that resonates here for me about first year, especially as an intern. Brown states, “Anxiety and excitement feel the same, but how we interpret and label them can determine how we experience them.” (Brown, 2021, p. 12).

Where is your second year placement? Maine Medical Center Palliative Medicine Program

What will your work there entail? I’m excited to be learning from an interprofessional team compromised of specially trained providers including: Advanced practice practitioners, nurses, physicians, social workers, and spiritual care professionals. Specific needs will vary depending on a patient’s illness and situation, but services may include everything from management of pain and other symptoms; planning for future care needs; emotional and spiritual support; bereavement support/ referral to completion of Advanced Care Planning documentation. One component I’ve learned already is how this area differs from hospice— PCP is located both in the hospital and in the ambulatory setting, so the team provides care during any part of a patient’s illness beginning at the time of diagnosis and onward through the end of life. Hospice care is provided to those patients who are nearing the end of life.

What advice do you have for students choosing a field placement? Ask lots of questions; try something new that you might NOT want to go into because this is the time to do it; keep showing up.