Learning to Fly: Part Deux

January 3, 2013

In September, I started a new chapter in my professional life.  With the help of a few wonderful colleagues and advocates, I was able to create an internship program based around the hospital system I work in, and let me tell you – it has been a whirlwind.

My two interns have just completed the third month of the six month program.  Yikes! How did the time go by so fast?

I’ll tell you how.


Before the internship was able to start, the universities and the hospital had to come to a contractual agreement.  This took a while. The issue was: the hospital I am working with has recently decided that it does not provide criminal record checks (CORIs) to interns.  The schools my interns are from also don’t provide criminal record checks.  Luckily, the memo didn’t get passed along to HR at the hospital, and the person in that department ran checks for us before I knew that CORIs were the main hold up. We eventually got everything straightened out, but the person in the legal department in charge of the contracts had not known that I had a relationship with the hospital prior to this, (or that project supervisor, S – a unit manager, was on my team) and had let the contract sit on their desk for over a month before it was sent to the administrators for signing.  The interns started a week later than expected, because in order for me to even set up hospital and behavioral health orientation for the interns, the contracts had to be signed.  In order for the interns to even start observing on the medical units and psych units, they had to go through said orientation and turn in their proof of immunizations, behavioral health and student rotation forms (this is something nursing students fill out so that the powers that be know where they’ll be, how often, and for how long), and get ID badges (which was a trial in and of itself).  It was painfully frustrating.

In the time that I was waiting with bated breath to hear about the contracts, I had to create a schedule for the interns, a list of assignments and readings, make a contract, sit down for IIPs (Individual Internship Plans), talk with liasons from both schools about the contracts and liability insurance, check with every single facility I work at to make sure it was okay to bring the interns with me (there are 12 facilities), send memos to the medical units explaining the brand new music therapy program to staff, and do some sessions to acquaint myself with the medical units and staff.  It was a lot of work, but I have to admit, getting my ducks in a row felt good, and with any luck, my experience this time around will make everything easier next time.

Then there was the actual internship.

Month 1 – First, we had two weeks of orientation.  This consisted of the interns coming with me to every place I go, observing and participating, engaging in discussion before, between, and after sessions, and doing various assignments. After they completed behavioral health and medical orientation, as well as the required immunizations and hospital forms, they were able to observe me facilitating bedside MT in the hospital.  After learning how to document, lead sessions in the hospital, and after a hefty amount of observing me in group sessions, they began to lead on their own.  This happened just in time for me to get violently ill and lose my voice (which I wrote about in THIS post).

Month 2 – The interns got their feet very wet leading sessions as a duo (without my direct supervision) in the hospital, and leading my groups while I quietly observed their progress.  There were a couple of misunderstandings and some personal issues that came up, but it was all productive, and all a great lesson in how to work and communicate effectively with others.  Both interns chose topics for research study – one created a survey to find out how staff is benefiting from the music therapy program (indirectly and directly), and the other is conducting research to find out what the most popular interventions are, depending on demographic information.

Month 3 – Both of the interns solidified their final projects – One intern will be starting a music therapy program at two facilities with emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, and will be meeting with the coordinator to nail down details sometime in the next two weeks.  The other intern is starting a pilot program on the hospital’s pediatric unit.  We met with the unit manager to discuss logistics, my intern sent out emails and memos to the unit managers about the program so that staff is informed, and after a relatively easy process, it will begin this coming week!  We found out about a month ago, however, that in order to conduct research having anything to do with the hospital, the interns must propose the research to the Institutional Research Board which requires six additional steps/forms/written work!  Eek!  The Board doesn’t meet until mid-February, so there is time, but it was an unforeseen obstacle.  I guess this is all a learning experience!  At least I have my trusty project supervisor, S, to guide me through the maze.  Another fun and exciting thing that happened during the third month, is that my wonderful boyfriend (a professional photographer) did a photo shoot for me!  One photo of all of us in transit is pictured above (courtesy of Chris Conti Photography).

The interns have been home for the holidays for two/three weeks, and while it has been nice to have a little break between groups, there is still a lot to do, so I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things on Monday.  It’s amazing how productive I have let myself be, and how well this has all worked out.

Now, onto the National Roster application…


If you have any questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to ask!  “Like” Bostonmusiclady on facebook to get more updates.


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