- A current University AFFILIATION AGREEMENT must be in place between The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling and The Site prior to beginning a Practicum or Internship.
- Practica may not be done during summer semester.
- Internships may not be done during summer semester unless the student was already placed at that site as part of practicum or internship begun during spring semester and continuing over summer. This is to ensure appropriate supervision onsite (i.e. it cannot be started summer semester). Approval of a Faculty Advisor, Clinical Coordinator and Site Supervisor are required for this exception.
- Students are responsible for working with the contact person identified by the site in setting up their clinical experience.
- Students are responsible for ensuring that the clinical experience will provide new learning particularly if the site is also their employment site. Approval must be given by the Clinical Coordinator and Faculty Advisor.
- Students have the option of receiving an incomplete grade for a clinical experience if they are unable to complete necessary hours within the expected timeframe. This may be due to constraints on the site or unexpected life events such as illness. Approval must be given by the Clinical Coordinator.
- Students must identify and address with the site supervisor, any barriers to the successful completion of the clinical experience such as the site supervisor taking maternity leave or vacation, PRIOR to entering into an agreement.
- All forms are available to download at www.rehab.vcu.edu under Current Students.
The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling Clinical Coordinator is available to identify sites, provide contact information, provide information on populations served and opportunities available, and to discuss any issues regarding clinical experience:
Department Phone Number: 804.827.0922
- All practica and internships must be approved by the Clinical Coordinator.
- Practicum: A 100 hour clinical experience on an approved site which entails new learning for the student, of which 40 hours are direct client service, shall be completed as part of the requirements for the course RHAB 692. "Client" shall be defined as individuals with, or directly affected by a disability, functional limitation(s), or medical condition who receive services from rehabilitation counselors. This definition comes from Section A, A.1., a. page 2 of the Code of Professional Ethics of the Commission on Certification of Rehabilitation Counselors, January 1, 2002.
- Internship involves at least 600 work hours, with at least 240 hours of client contact. All students must regularly participate in both on-site and on-campus supervision of their work.
- For students seeking LPC licensure in Virginia, the 600 internship hours may be deducted from the required 4000 residency hours if (a) the student has completed at least 30 credit hours prior to starting the internship, (b) at least one of the student´s supervisors holds a qualifying Virginia license (LPC, licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychiatrist), (c) the student documents participation in at least 20 hours on-campus and 20 hours on-site supervision, and (d) the student has both on-campus and on-site supervisors complete the relevant Virginia form (Form VI-R) at the completion of internship.
Students are required to complete a 100 hour field experience as part of RHAB 692. 40 hours of direct client contact are required at a minimum, and 60 hours of administrative activities. Supervised clinical experiences in a rehabilitation setting are required for all students. Clinical practice provides an opportunity for all students to develop techniques and skills in connection with the total rehabilitation process. It gives the student an opportunity to apply theory to the practice of rehabilitation counseling and case management.
General Objectives for All Supervised Clinical Experiences
The following objectives are felt to be appropriate for all students and should be achieved by students enrolled in a practicum or internship. Achievement of these objectives is important not only for the development of students, but for continuing refinement of the graduate curriculum of the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, and ultimately for the benefit of the persons we serve. Therefore, students will have an opportunity to:
- Apply and test academic/theoretical knowledge in a realistic rehabilitation setting;
- Experience the realities of the therapist/therapeutic relationship and the part that self-understanding plays in this relationship;
- Develop confidence in their abilities (knowledge and skills) in an environment which provides consistent and appropriate feedback necessary for maximum professional growth and development;
- Demonstrate high standards of professional ethics;
- Develop an appropriate professional identity;
- Acquire an understanding of agency structure, protocol, processes, and intra- and interagency working relationships.
Practicum Experience: A minimum of 100 contact hours in a single agency completed as part of the requirements of RHAB 692 Advanced Issues in Professional Counseling. RHAB 691 Counseling Techniques is a pre-requisite to 692.
Practicum Site: An agency, organization, facility, institution or program which provides a rehabilitation and/or mental health practice setting and appropriate supervision for students enrolled in a practicum. If you are already employed in a rehabilitation setting, your regular work site is not automatically an acceptable practicum site. The practicum is intended to constitute new learning and typically is not incorporated into your current daily work activities. The site must be approved by Denise Hall, Clinical Coordinator, in conjunction with your faculty advisor.
On-Site Supervisor: That individual responsible for the student/employee at the practicum site. Responsibilities will vary according to the agency and the student´s objectives. The On-Site Supervisor arranges for adequate facilities, provides general orientation to the setting, participates in evaluations, and provides on-site supervision.
Clinical Coordinator: This person coordinates the field experience. This Faculty member communicates with the student to facilitate the development of sites and learning objectives. The Practicum Instructor must approve the site selection (and On-Site Supervisor) and student learning objectives. They also, as a regular part of his or her instructional assignment, provide the supervision of practicum students. It is anticipated that the bulk of faculty supervision will be electronic, telephonic or in person. This individual is responsible for: 1). Confirming the placements for those students assigned, 2). Providing orientation and evaluation criteria for the On-Site Supervisors; 3). Providing individual supervision as indicated; 4). Holding conferences with On-Site Supervisor and Student as needed; and 5). Providing, in consultation with the On-Site Supervisor, final evaluation of the student´s progress.
Appropriate Field Experiences
The practicum site and tasks must constitute new learning, and if incorporated into current work activity, must go beyond the job duties currently being performed by the student. For example, an individual who has not been involved in job placement or vocational assessment activities could elect to increase their skills in these areas; or an individual who currently works with individuals with psychiatric disabilities and is interested in working with transition age youth may select to do so. However, the ideal intent is that the practicum experience occurs at a new setting performing new tasks.
The practicum must be supervised by a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), or a similarly certified rehabilitation professional, or a rehabilitation professional whose scope of experience and depth of specialty supports the student in balancing his or her own professional aspirations with the operations of the agency, program or organization. The majority of on-site supervisors will meet one of these criteria, and all faculty supervisors will meet the CRC criteria.
Each student is responsible for locating an appropriate site. Students should consult the Clinical Coordinator while enrolled in RHAB 691 Counseling Techniques to assist in identifying prospective sites. These discussions should focus on the clinical experiences that the student is looking for in the practicum.
Practicum grading occurs within the context of RHAB 692. The 100 hours of clinical practicum are a part of the course requirements and contribute to a student´s overall grade in that course. Specific details regarding the grading procedures for the course will be found in the syllabus for RHAB 691. Successful practicum completion includes: 1). completion of all 100 hours of practicum including weekly log; 2). acceptable On-Site/Faculty Supervisor Evaluation; and 3). completion of a written evaluation report by the student.
VCU requires that a University Affiliation Agreement be signed by the University, the Department, and the affiliating organization prior to engaging in provision of clinical training for any student. This Agreement identifies the terms of the relationship between the two entities. Therefore:
- Students must contact the Clinical Coordinator to determine whether an Affiliation Agreement between VCU and the desired site exists. If an agreement is not yet in place, the Clinical Coordinator (in consultation with the student´s advisor) will determine the appropriateness of the potential site. The student must provide the site contact information needed to initiate this process as early as possible, or at least one semester before enrolling in Practicum (which is part of RHAB 691). If the site is determined to be appropriate for fieldwork, the Clinical Coordinator will initiate the process of securing an Affiliation Agreement between the site and VCU. If this process does not occur in advance of the semester in which the student wishes to engage in fieldwork, the fieldwork experience will be delayed until the Agreement is in place. The Clinical Coordinator is Denise Hall; she can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-827-0922.
- The following information is required in order for the agreement to be initiated by the Clinical Coordinator:
- Name and address, phone and fax numbers of organization
- Name and address of Executive Director
- Name and address, Title, phone and fax numbers, and email address of site supervisor
- Credentials of the site supervisor (CRC certification, LPC license, graduate degree, etc.)
- Distance Learning students are encouraged to determine if an Affiliation Agreement exists (and to provide contact information for potential fieldwork sites if needed) well in advance of their clinical training, even if they are using their place of employment to fulfill fieldwork requirements. Students using their place of employment for practicum or internship recognize that they must engage in a pre-approved plan to integrate substantive new learning into their work to satisfy fieldwork requirements.
NOTICE TO ALL STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN PRACTICUMS, CLINICAL ROTATIONS, AFFILIATIONS AND INTERNSHIPS AND QUALIFYING FOR PROFESSIONAL LICENSING
Welcome to the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Health Professions, Department of Rehabilitation Counseling. We hope you will succeed in both the academic and practical aspects of your course of study. VCU policy does not require students to undergo criminal background checks, drug screenings, credit checks or the like as a condition of acceptance or enrollment. Clinical experiences or field internships, however, may be an integral part of your academic program and many of the clinical affiliates with which the University contracts to provide such clinical experiences, do require criminal background checks, health screenings or drug screens as a condition of allowing students to participate in the clinical experience. Some affiliates may also require credit checks, DMV records check, review of professional disciplinary records, registry searches of certain types of sex offenders and/or verification of Social Security Numbers or legal residency.
Students assigned to a clinical rotation or internship at an outside facility are personally responsible for completing the required checks or screenings and assuring that results are obtained by the facility that asks for them. This means that students also may be required to bear the costs of such tests. It will be the decision of the clinical affiliate whether the student will be allowed to participate in the clinical activities. Virginia Commonwealth University does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of a criminal background check, drug screen or other check, maintaining the records of results or for delivering them to clinical sites. Students may not request to be assigned only to those sites that do not require such checks. Students who refuse to undergo a criminal background check or drug screen or other required check may not be able to be placed at another facility and consequently may not be able to complete program requirements. The University will make reasonable efforts to place all enrolled students in clinical training.
Students unable to obtain a clinical site due to questionable background checks may be subject to Administrative Review, and possible dismissal from the program.
Students are also reminded that licensing boards for certain occupations and professions may deny, suspend or revoke a license or may deny the opportunity to sit for an examination if an applicant has a criminal history or is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or other serious crime. Students should consult the licensing board of their intended profession for further information. Successful completion of a program of study at VCU's College of Health Professions, Department of Rehabilitation Counseling does not guarantee licensure, the opportunity to sit for a licensure examination, certification or employment in the relevant occupation.