Thursday, March 24, 2011

Navy intern program trains future social workers at WRAMC

Photo By Sharon Renee Taylor
James Stockus, left, a licensed clinical social worker at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. advises Samantha Stopford, Emily Debo-Trosclair and Louis Sanchez, interns in the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program, which trains and commissions active duty Medical Service Corps officers in the Social Work specialty.
Editor’s note: March is National Professional Social Work Month. This year’s theme is Social Workers Change Futures.”

Three interns with the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) prepare for the changing future of military social work with training at both Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) Bethesda, Md.

The trio began the 27-month program fall of 2009 as the first to train at the two hospitals under the HSCP program designed to raise the Navy’s active duty Social Work specialty within the Medical Service Corps from nearly 30 officers to 150 over the next five years.

“This is a once in a lifetime learning experience,” explained Samantha Stopford, an HSCP social work intern training with Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services at WRAMC. “We have the privilege of learning from multi-disciplinary teams in six very different rotations and we have had the opportunity to truly learn from and work with all of the military branches.”

“The goal is to create qualified, competent social work officers,” explained James Stockus, a licensed clinical social worker at in charge of the educational component of the HSCP social work program at NNMC. Stockus said WRAMC has played an incredibly, important role in the group’s training, working with the population they’ll be serving.

“These days in the military, when you’re deployed, you’re in a joint force of some kind or another, and what better way to [train the interns] than have them work directly at our sister institution down the street,” Stockus said.

Over a two-year period the interns will complete three or four month rotations collectively in more than nine different services between the two hospitals, such as Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (PHTBI) at Bethesda and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) at Walter Reed.

“I would hire any of them,” explained Walter Reed’s Dr. Andrew Wain, Chief of the Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service in the Department of Psychiatry as well as chief of preventive medicine psychology.

The three HSCP interns spent three-month rotations in Wain’s service which sees all medical or surgical inpatients at the hospitalwho are wounded, ill and injured Soldiers returning from the battlefield, along with their families. Wain called the interns an impressive group of professionals.

Stockus said the HSCP interns have exemplified the integration process.

“They show us actually that the work is the same, and even though the building may be different, even though the branch of service may be different, and even though the patients may wear a different uniform, they are [doing] what we’re here to do, and we can certainly all operate in either facility.”