Off-campus internship experiences are vital to UCF’s master’s degree program in communication sciences and disorders because they enable graduate student clinicians to acquire advanced skills in the field. These experiences provide students with opportunities to apply information learned in the classroom and through textbooks to service delivery in real educational and health settings.
Graduate student placements occur in more than 200 off-campus sites throughout Florida and the continental United States. The students complete off-campus placements during their last two semesters of study in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, community clinics and private practices. In each of these settings, the goals for the experience include guided learning, improved clinical competency and progressive independence.
Purposes of Internship
- To provide a continuing series of practical experiences,adapted to students’ levels of expertise, that provide opportunities for application of principles, knowledge and skills previously acquired in classes and clinical practica
- To learn how to assume professional roles in clinical settings while becoming accustomed to a variety of organization structures, working relationships, and job expectations
- To develop a professional identity as a speech-language pathologist
- To gain experiences in the role of a team member when working with other professionals and families in the treatment process
For Participating Sites:
- To provide opportunities for input into the development of the university program, thereby sharing in the education of future speech-language pathologists
- To serve as a catalyst for growth for participating speech-language pathologists through interaction with students
- To provide participating sites an opportunity to recruit new employees
For the University:
- To establish an outside measure of students’ abilities to function efficiently and effectively as speech-language pathologists
- To facilitate continuous evaluation of the curriculum’s relevance and effectiveness, leading to modifications when necessary
- To provide more diverse clinical experiences for students
The following are some, if not all, of the experiences in which internship students will be able to participate:
- Observing of the organization and administration of a speech-language pathology program
- Evaluating and diagnosing of communication disorders
- Scheduling of treatment sessions
- Completing forms and other types of documentation used by clinics and school systems in reporting, record keeping, and so on
- Understanding reimbursement procedures in a variety of health care and educational settings
- Treating, both individual and group, with a variety of communication disorders/delays
- Writing lesson plans that include appropriate goals, logical task sequences, clear conditions and criteria for achieving goals, types and amounts of reinforcement and appropriate selection of materials and activities
- Exploring and selecting Evidence Based Practice (EBP) to support clinical decisions
- Conferencing with teachers, family members and other professionals
- Learning and implementing a variety of materials and instrumentation
- Delivering in-service education programs for clinicians
- Attending at IFSP or IEP meetings, staffing’s, interpretive conferences and other professional meetings
- Observing and/or participating in special programs of hospitals, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, school systems and other settings
Clinical Internship Skills
Graduate student clinicians in off-campus internships will bring skills already mastered during previous clinical courses and practica. Students will leave the internship with many more skills, which must be mastered, before completing that internship. During the internship, students should demonstrate competence in the following skills:
- Working cooperatively with other professionals
- Conducting diagnostic evaluations
- Explaining test results to clients and families.
- Developing recommendations based on test results.
- Writing accurate and concise reports.
- Planning and implementing a speech-language program based on the needs and abilities of clients.
- Collecting and analyzing data.
- Understanding and stating the rationale for any treatment plan, approach and procedure used.
- Motivating clients to improve their communicative skills.
- Using diagnostic and treatment time efficiently.
- Identifying and managing client behaviors and responses.
- Meeting clients’ and families’ needs in flexible manner.
- Planning treatment sessions and choosing appropriate materials for clients.
- Self-evaluating clinical skills objectively.