HPB Field Experience

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Rationale of the professional internship

The professional internship in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior is one phase of the total pre-service training program. The two parts, the course of study and the internship, are designed to contribute to the basic objective of providing opportunities for the student to develop the competencies necessary to assume professional responsibilities in the field of Health Promotion.

Although academic study and field work are often thought of as two distinctive types of experience, they have much in common: theoretical insight and the development of sound concepts are important parts of both academic course work and/or testing of hypotheses and of the classroom experience. Both experiences are learning experiences and the same educational principles must apply to both situations.

The professional internship must contribute to the student's goals for professional growth. These goals must be clearly perceived and consciously striven for by both student and supervisor.

Effective field training principles must be followed to insure sound educational experiences. The following principles are starting points for planning sound field training:

  • Field training for an individual student must be planned in terms of his/her abilities, and needs and interests as an integral part of the total training experiences in which he/she is participating;
  • The student must be an active participant in planning his/her field training experience;
  • Students should meet real needs of the agency in program development, implementation, and evaluation. If at all possible, the student should be given the opportunity to function as a full-fledged staff member;
  • The training experience should be so designed that the student has an opportunity for responsible participation in a wide variety of tasks and relationships common to the activities of professionals in health promotion and education. The resources available must be adequate for this purpose;
  • Field training must be under the guidance and supervision of an individual who is able to make a learning experience out of a work situation and who is professionally competent in the student's area of specialization;
  • The agency provides experiential learning to improve student competencies;
  • Evaluation of the field training experience must be in terms of:
    • the student's growth in understandings and abilities needed in situations faced by health promotion professionals; and
    • the student's contributions to the agency's program 

General information about the internship

  • The internship is a requirement for all Health Promotion undergraduate students who are completing the Health Promotion area of emphasis.
  • In general, the student will arrange for the internship to be completed during one semester for six (6) credit hours.
  • The internship will be completed no earlier than the student's final semester of study for the degree.
  • The internship may be taken any semester including summer session. The student is allowed to take two online or traditionally offered non-essential or elective courses along with the internship, but all major-required coursework must be completed prior to the internship.

General goals of the undergraduate internship

  • Develop an understanding of the structure and functions of the participating agency;
  • Learn to function effectively in an agency environment with existing staff members and administrators;
  • Apply the elements of basic program planning, implementation, and evaluation while developing and/or participating in a project or projects that is/are consistent with the goals and functions of the host agency; and
  • Develop and refine communication skills through direct participation and contact with agency clients.
  • Learn about the agency administrative processes including internal and external funding sources and issues
  • Improve skills in long-range planning including the areas of needs assessment and funding

Overview of time spent during the internship

  • Practical experience at the participating site as a functioning health promotion specialist at the planning/administrative/evaluation level (300 hours*)
  • Development of a professional blog
  • Updating professional website to include internship development
  • Review and analysis of the field work experience and performance evaluation

*Note: These hours are minimally expected. Often internship students will exceed these hours and students are encouraged to do so. Field sites may require more than 300 hours.

Criteria for evaluating the internship

  • Successfully completing all on-site practical experience hours and responsibilities
  • Completion of the professional blog
  • Updating professional website to include internship development
  • Satisfactory final evaluation by the site supervisor

The internship is graded A-F.

Pre-internship requirements at the undergraduate level

1) Completion of all major-required courses with a grade of "C" or better.

2) All required paperwork for the internship process must be complete and approved by the HPRB Internship Coordinator.

3) Adult and Pediatric First Aid and CPR certification cards must be submitted to the student’s advisor.

Site supervisor responsibilities

  • Meet and interview students as potential internship interns and discuss specific possibilities for the internship. Students must meet competency areas for health promotion professionals within the internship.
  • If the student is selected as an intern, negotiate with the student a proposal for an acceptable internship. This proposal form is to be completed by the student and signed by the site supervisor. The student will submit the proposal to the Internship Coordinator for final approval. The proposal should be as specific as possible as to the nature of the interns' expected work, weekly hours, etc. This proposal form must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator by the midpoint of the semester prior to the internship, and approved by the Internship Coordinator, before the student may begin the internship.
  • Arrange for office or workspace for the student.
  • Provide structured orientation period at the beginning of the internship.
  • Be available, on an appointment basis if necessary, to provide guidance to the student on specific issues. Meeting with the student regularly to discuss progress, problems, and insights will benefit the student in his/her practical learning process.
  • Contact the Internship Coordinator if problems occur which cannot be resolved and it is felt the students should not continue the internship.