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"The soul that can speak through the eyes, can also kiss with a gaze."
~Gustav Adolfo Becquer

Sometimes...

>> Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Supervising an intern sucks.

Incredibly so.

I know I've talked in previous blogs about me supervising Master Level Interns. I generally like being a mentor for this and helping them to learn how to do what I do. It is much more work for me, but there's a personal satisfaction I get out of it. It's also a matter of professional pride, as they've decided to hire my intern from last year; out of how many applicants.
So yes, I generally enjoy this added responsibility.

This is not one of these times.

Without going into any detail, my intern is just not cut out to do this kind of work. And thankfully, he has saved me the uncomfortableness by coming to that realization himself.
I am grateful for this, as I would have had to do something, though would be the right thing to do, but a very difficult thing to do as well.

I would have had to fail him.

Critiquing someone's professional performance, I am ok doing.
Pointing out their strengths and skills as well as challenges and areas for improvement, I can handle.
Even giving a verbal warning, though I've never had to do, I know I'm capable of doing.

Telling an intern that I will not be passing them, knowing they spent thousands and thousands of educational dollars, to get to this point...

is really difficult to do.

Though I know, professionally speaking, it is the right thing to do, it doesn't feel good.
I don't think it ever will.

I believe he knew this too, and brought it up to me first. He let me know he will not be returning next semester, has decided to take some time off from school, and thinks he may be switching his major. He was supposed to graduate with a Master's in Social Work come May, 2008.
This is after how many years of college?? And how much money spent??
Ouch.

So, tomorrow, I meet with him and one of the professors at SU, his field internship liaison, to check progress and challenges. I believe it's going to be a difficult meeting, but one that needs to take place.
I've come across a couple professional colleagues over the years that has left me scratching my head, wondering how in the world did they get out of Grad school. I realize now, that it may be in part due to an intern supervisor who didn't want to get their hands dirty and muck around in the mud, to say what truly needed to be said.
To pass the buck onto someone else, without quite realizing, we *are* that last someone else.

Yup.

Sometimes supervising an intern

sucks.

~ZZ

3 Reflections:

The Uneasy Supplicant 2:41 PM, December 05, 2007  

Oh I've been there, in your shoes that is and I agree "it sucks."
Look at it this way, in 20 years he'll be happier that he's not in a job he wasn't cut out for.
As for the thousands of dollars? Well, having two that went to university only to realize it wasn't for them,thousands of dollars later ...well, that sucks as well.
~JD

FosterDad 5:47 PM, December 05, 2007  

I would hate to be in that position also...but like you, know that it has to be done for the betterment of all!

By the way, is this the intern that you acquired from one of your colleagues without knowing all of the interns details?

Greeneyezz 9:15 PM, December 05, 2007  

JD - lol...Ok, so maybe "Sucks" is *not* the most profesional word to use here, but it does seem the *most* applicable. :)
I"m sure you're right, he will be much better off down the road. He may be able to salvage this semester's worth of internship and still receive credit for it, Which I'm hoping he'll do.
Oh yeah, it sucks to find out $$$ after the fact, but I suppose, that's the Whole reason for an internship to begin with, to get your feet wet and find out if it's the right fit or not.

FD - Yes, indeed, you are aware of the particulars here. He has many fine qualities, and his clinical skills are within range for his education and experience, there are other things that need to be taken into account as well.
Yeah, I know I would have done the right thing regardless, It's never a pleasant thing to experience.

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