I will attach here my experience with my previous agency.
Bay Area Center for Independent Living (BACIL) is a non-profit agency that provides resources for children and adults with disabilities using assistive technology devices to successfully teach the necessary skills for independent life in the community. Bay Area Center for Independent Living promotes access to community resources and support for people with disabilities and their families through programs that offer choices, preserve dignity, and increase independence for an improved quality of life across the nine counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Working at the Bay Area Center for Independent Living has exposed me to social work dynamics and underscored social workers’ value in improving communities’ quality of life. As an intern, I have learned several skills so far. For example, I was taught how to interact and manage people with different personalities and diverse backgrounds. I also learned how to take notes, especially when running consumers to ensure that all information was captured. I was taught how to develop relationships with clients; these relationships serve to facilitate checkups and follow-ups; thus, they are crucial for effective service delivery. The internship has been an excellent opportunity to learn, interact with people with different backgrounds, and experience the work environment. I have gained invaluable people skills so far and have increased my technical knowledge and comprehension of the work environment. My roles at the facility were to add new participants to the program, updating the consumers support planning, doing the paperwork for the organization, making phone calls and fax departments, reviewing case files, conducting initial intakes and assessments for new participants, customers billing, and conduct surveys for the clients. I have got the opportunity to learn about the LTSS program and CilSuite program. There is always room for growth, but I’m content that I had amazing people around me. My supervisor ensured that I had an hour with her each week when she asked me about my concerns and answered my questions about the agency’s growth. She was an understanding person since she responded to my concerns professionally without judgment. Likewise, she understood my concerns with language as English is my second language.
Through my entire internship, I was able to present myself professionally in the agency. Each passing day I continuously improved my professional relations within the agency and even when I was not there. I faced challenges that would have made me sway away and act unprofessionally, but I maintained a code and acted professionally (BACIL, 2021).
I believe speaking on the phone to providers gave me good practice in answering potential questions professionally and helped me avoid seeking my supervisor’s attention frequently as it made me uncomfortable. On this competency, I believe I am at the peak of it because I now understand how professionalism works and can act professionally on issues. I understand that my weakness should not stop me from staying professional since one can always communicate an issue.
Individual and cultural diversity is the second competency. At the agency, I had the opportunity to work with diverse consumers who came from different backgrounds and had different beliefs entirely. Through the help of supervisors and other staff members, I responded comfortably to the diverse group of consumers who needed my attention in the agency. I was able to come up with a service plan that helped the consumers get advice efficiently. The service plan came into being because I understood how everyone is different in their way. By this, I understood that not everything would cater to everyone’s needs, and therefore my service plan worked well. I believe I am on the average level in this competency since I feel like there is more, I can do to ensure inclusion and maintain the different diversities.
The third competency in respect of the consumer’s decisions even when you seem to disagree with whatever the consumer wants or prefers. During the monthly monitoring, I checked the progress of consumers, and the entire time I offered advice to their concerns and take notes. Most of the time, I worked with whatever they wanted rather than force my ideologies on them. I have worked on this competency by ensuring every consumer is respected and his or her concerns are noted down. During the period, I ensured all the consumers’ immediate needs are catered for, and if I could not get a hold of them, I always called the immediate next person to them, such as their siblings.
Research is the fourth competency that I worked to achieve during my internship. The research I did was mainly a survey that my supervisor requested. I did not have any previous experience where I surveyed health and services satisfaction, especially on a broad population, because it includes people of all age groups. This survey spiked my interest in research topics that focus on health.
I made sure to receive education on the various policies and procedures that govern the agency’s running. This ensured that I meet the requirements of the fifth competency. In my first week, I was introduced to all the systems and the software used in the agency to ensure that all the requirements of the consumers are met. I learned about the various input systems that the agency used in delivering consumers’ needs and handling information. I learned about the chain of command in the agency and the supervisor’s expectations from me. This competency is essential since you can evaluate whether you are failing or doing well.
Consultation and working with other staff are the sixth competency that I managed to use each day of my internship. I consulted and engaged other individuals during the entire period of my internship. I asked my supervisor questions whenever I did not know or was unsure of what I was to do. Whenever I did not find a consumer on the phone, I engaged the family members in making decisions for my consumers rather than make the decisions myself. Evaluation of the interventions that were put by the agency for the consumers is how I worked towards meeting my ninth competency. I called the discharged consumers and knew how they were faring outside the agency. I also came up with service plans to ensure the needs of the consumers were met as required by the agency. I also addressed concerns with my supervisor weekly, giving me a better way of evaluating the interventions.
Work completion and proper handling of assigned tasks are the seventh competencies that I have met during my internship. I made sure to complete all the assigned tasks at the end of the day before leaving the agency. Admission of consumers and monitoring their progress through the months enabled me to meet all the required skills for this competency (Moulin, 2018). By the end of the internship, I was comfortable handling consumers myself without help from another person. I am now comfortable handling consumers that may be assigned to me.
The use of appropriate interventions and communicating with others well to meet the needs of the consumers is how I met the eighth competency. I sharpened my communication skills by assessing the different consumers I had to meet since they were few to determine the best healthcare options. As for other consumers, I communicated with their family members to help determine the best way they can take care of themselves. Additionally, proper communication enabled me to determine their ability to take care of themselves without safety issues. I communicated with my supervisor daily to ensure that I was applying the correct interventions and the consumers were safe and independent.
Evaluating the agency’s interventions for the consumers is how I worked towards meeting my ninth competency. I called the discharged consumers to ask them about their faring outside the agency. I also came up with service plans to ensure the needs of the consumers were met as required by the agency. I also discussed concerns with my supervisor weekly, which gave me a better way of evaluating the interventions.
During my internship placement, I would have liked to interact with the participants physically, not just through the phone. I believe it is important to interact with the participants one on one to get to know them and see how they act and behave. Furthermore, after meeting with them, they would easily remember you as their support planner. Over-the-phone interactions limit the assessment of body language and posture that could help interpret a person’s behavior. Phones, although reliable, limit people in many ways in terms of the quality of response. That is, people will exclude some information that they would otherwise reveal one on one. It was important that my supervisor ensured that I had an hour with her each week to ask me about my concerns and answer my questions about the growth in the agency. She was an understanding advisor and very open since she responded to my concerns professionally without any judgment. This was my first work experience since I have moved to the United States, and I’m happy that it was a positive one, and it helped me develop my professional skills.
I did like the idea of interacting with other students and talk about what was happening at the field Placements. It is important to share good and bad experiences and ask for another opinion. It did help me come out of my shell since I am a shy person.
I will attach here my experience with my previous agency.