Need some direct care experience to put on your resume? Grad school application? Nursing or med school application? Provide companionship, transportation for older adults and individuals living with disabilities.
A Helping Hand (AHH), a nonprofit serving seniors and adults with disabilities, hosts a Service Learning Internship Program for college students and graduates interested in psychology, healthcare-related or social work careers. Service Learning Interns log a minimum of 90 hours of service with older adults, assisting with transportation and providing care in the home setting.
Former AHH interns have successfully launched careers as physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational or physical therapists and public health professionals. Others currently are enrolled in graduate programs at top-ranked schools.
Interns gain direct geriatric care experience, develop strong interpersonal skills, and work with a diverse client base. They assist clients with a wide range of issues including impaired vision or hearing, limited mobility, and cognitive losses. Interns also will become familiar with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Participants may also assist younger adults who are disabled due to visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, recent surgery or an automobile accident. Interns learn about family dynamics, the role of the family caregiver, and social isolation. Interns also have the chance to accompany clients to medical appointments, understand the importance of the patient/provider relationship and learn how to advocate for a patient.
A Helping Hand’s Service Learning Interns will have the opportunity to:
Gain Direct Care Experience
- Engage clients in intellectually stimulating activities.
- Provide escorted transportation to appointments.
- Provide assistance with grocery shopping.
- Run errands that would be challenging for someone with reduced mobility.
- Provide companionship to alleviate social isolation.
Receive Valuable Training
- General Orientation: Focuses on strengthening skills for working with older adults and disabled individuals. Topics that will be covered include effective communication, sensitivity to client needs, adherence to policy, establishing healthy boundaries with clients, emergency procedures, confidentiality and tips for successful visits.
- Sensitivity Awareness Training: Discusses how the changes of aging affect clients’ physical and psychological wellbeing. Props and demonstrations make this training interactive and hands-on.
- Dementia Training: Offers understanding of cognitive deficiencies and how to effectively communicate both with clients who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and family caregivers.
- Supplemental Trainings: Interns may choose from a variety of topics for three supplemental trainings that fit their interests. Topics may include depression, proper nutrition and fitness, demonstration of adaptive devices for the visually and mobility impaired, and first aid and CPR techniques.
Internship Components and Requirements: Provide Companion Care
Interns will be assigned to work with clients in our charitable program.
Interact with Agency Professionals
Our training sessions and meetings with partners and providers in the community enable interns to have face-to-face contact and networking opportunities with professionals from an array of disciplines.
Throughout the internship participants will be made aware of a variety of community trainings and meetings. Interns are required to attend at least 3 community events throughout the internship.
Work in Different Settings
In addition to working in clients’ homes across the community, A Helping Hand’s interns also have the opportunity to work with our community partners to gain experience working in a variety of care settings. Currently, interns may work at Charles House Eldercare Center, an adult day care center, and/or at Carolina Meadows, a retirement community. Alternate sites may also be available for gaining valuable experience.
Reflect on Your Experience
All interns are required to submit a three to five page reflection paper by the end of the internship, about how the internship affected their perceptions about older adults, as well as any impact the experience may have made on their career path. Specific examples regarding the intern experience will be an integral part of this submission.
Connect with Fellow Caregivers
Interns will attend monthly online team meetings to share experiences with interns and agency staff and receive additional training. Interns also have the opportunity to attend community events relating to various aspects of aging and caregiving, and team meetings provide a forum to discuss these events.
Our Service Learning Internship Program is an unpaid internship that requires a commitment to 90 hours of direct care experience. Most interns will serve 8-10 hours per week during the semester with flexibility for vacations. Interns may choose to volunteer beyond the minimum requirements
Interns will receive mileage reimbursement at the current IRS rates for transporting a client or doing an errand on the client’s behalf. Please note that interns are not reimbursed for mileage or credited for time commuting to or from the assignment.
As part of our interview process, all interns must complete a background check. For individuals with a North Carolina Driver’s License, the cost is $18. The cost for other states may vary, but is usually about $20. Interns must pay for the background check themselves.
Important:A car is required in order to participate in the pre-health service learning internship.
Scheduled Client Hours
Each intern will be placed with a variety of client assignments by our program scheduling department. Matches are made based upon common interests, character traits, proximity, availability and additional information, so that interns have a broad spectrum of experiences with senior citizens in the Triangle. Any questions regarding placements with clients should be addressed with our program directors.
Please visit https://ahelpinghandnc.org/get-involved/internships to apply for this opportunity. Priority will be given to applications received by January 5.