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Mentoring the Mentors: A Mentor Counselor’s Guide to Supervising Counselor Interns in the Field Sheila R. Hoover, M.A., CRC RSA 5 th National SCD Training.

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Presentation on theme: "Mentoring the Mentors: A Mentor Counselor’s Guide to Supervising Counselor Interns in the Field Sheila R. Hoover, M.A., CRC RSA 5 th National SCD Training."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mentoring the Mentors: A Mentor Counselor’s Guide to Supervising Counselor Interns in the Field Sheila R. Hoover, M.A., CRC RSA 5 th National SCD Training Forum Baltimore, Maryland August 24,2010

2 Or perhaps, a better title:

3 Goals today Why internship? A brief history of Oregon VR’s internship experiences Factors that influenced the creation of the Mentor’s Guide The process used to develop the Guide How it’s used Future directions

4 Why should VR host internships? Essential in the VR “Food Chain” – CORE accreditation requirements – RSA & RCE/RCD program requirements – Hiring agencies’ experience requirements Essential in the development of the VR field – New applicants for vacancies – Practical experience for students – Reduces recruit/hire/train/terminate/recruit cycle

5 Why should VR host internships? Essential to VR staff development – Challenges staff to stay current with practices – Can increase diversity in offices – Gives line staff an opportunity to try supervision Beneficial to VR consumers – Served with fresh perspective on disability issues – Can assist in outreach to disability groups – Brings cutting edge information to share in service


7 SOME OREGON VR HISTORY… Prior to 2003 – Hit or miss, no formal outreach or networking – No consistency from site to site – Data collection and analysis not possible 2003-2007 – New position created in OVRS Administration’s Field Services Unit – “Hey, it’d be great if you would do some outreach with the graduate programs…”

8 OVRS woke up one day and…

9 Developing an internship program Survey of former interns on staff Begin formal outreach to local RCE programs – Western Oregon University (General & RCD) – Portland State University (General) – Western Washington University (General) Work closely with faculty to review CORE standards for practicum and internship Begin collecting a library of RCE programs’ internship manuals

10 Seeking structure Centralized coordination “Sharing the wealth” statewide Tools and processes – Internship application – Internship webpage – Administrator’s Stipend program CRC credit for credentialed staff Avoiding staff burnout

11 Creating best practices Old system One mentor VRC Branch Manager is initial contact Support staff role ignored No evaluation Hit or miss experience No credit provided for supervision Less career investment by interns New system Multiple mentors Internship Coordinator is initial contact Support staff role important Intern and Mentors do eval More consistent experience CRC credits awarded for supervision Interns more invested in VR as a potential employer But there was still something missing…


13 Figuring it out Manuals all addressed university requirements Internship agreements addressed academic issues VR field staff were unclear on agency’s expectations

14 Filling the need A guide FOR VR professionals written BY VR professionals Practical, easy to use references and forms Suggested activities and milestones for students Clear explanation of role for practicum versus internship

15 Filling the need Review data – Internship program establishment research – Interviews of current and recent interns – Interviews of current and recent mentor counselors – Input of management team and Exec staff Pay attention to “wish I knew that” and “wish I would have…” statements to foster guide development

16 Creating a new perspective Guide approach rather than manual – Suggestions – Flexibility Debunk some strongly held myths – Interns are file clerks – Support staff have no role in internships – Observation is key

17 Promote active learning

18 Guide contents Mentor’s role Practicum v. Internship Becoming a mentor (step by step process) Being an effective mentor Connecting students and consumers Month by month suggestions for activities and assignments throughout the internship period

19 A companion to university guides Supplements information for students found in university guides Assists faculty (especially new faculty) to understand the VR setting Gives a more consistent internship experience to the students Includes reference materials for both VR staff and interns to use during supervision

20 Kicking off internship season Meet in small or large groups – OVRS Internship coordinator – Intern – Mentor Counselor(s) – Branch Manager – Faculty Supervisor (if available)

21 Kicking off internship season Review the Guide – Roles – Myths – Expectations – Timelines Teambuilding and problem solving activities – Small groups by site – “What if…” scenarios

22 After the internship Intern evaluation Mentor evaluation Review of data at Administrative level Program/process improvement activities CRC credit to mentors if requested

23 Looking ahead

24 Possible improvements Administrative changes Create electronic evaluation Maximize use of social media for internship recruitment Increase access to career ladder throughout organization More effective recruitment of potential staff members at all levels Scope of program Increased outreach to RCE/D programs outside Oregon Broader spread of placements statewide Outreach to undergraduate programs in human services Mentor guide focused on support staff internships

25 Recent interns’ feedback Supervision was a team approach that allowed me to learn from various seasoned counselors in a supportive yet challenging setting--eventually allowing me to build my own caseload--then seamlessly transition into a VR counselor position after graduation. The internship experience helped me to shape the philosophy I use as I work with clients. I was able to observe all of the counselors in the office and I learned that there is no "one way" to do VR work.

26 Recent interns’ feedback The senior counselors provided good guidance and patient training to allow me to "see the bigger picture" of VR work. Their support was instrumental in allowing me to integrate "book learning" into practices that will serve the clients for years to come. I would say that OVRS provides one of the better internship experiences available to graduate students in Oregon.

27 Thank you for participating! Sheila R. Hoover, M.A., CRC State Coordinator for Deaf/HOH Services State of Oregon Office of VR Services 500 Summer Street NE, E-87 Salem, OR 97360 (503) 945-6255 Voice (503) 470-6740 Video

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