Adaptation and Flexibility in the APA Internship Program related to COVID-19

BUCC’s internship program has become more flexible through the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting the use of technology as needed to continue high quality training of future psychologists.  All fundamental building blocks of internship were maintained during the pandemic, with adjustments or alterations for physically distanced work.

For academic year 2021-22, Baylor University is planning on typical in-person educational experience for students, faculty, and staff.   The Counseling Center also will return to in-person training, delivering activities in our offices and meeting rooms on campus.  BUCC will be offering a hybrid model of clinical services to students, with the options for in-person or tele-health counseling. 

In that context, we are building in additional flexibility to incorporate the best of what we have learned during the pandemic into our training program, and to be prepared in case we need to shift our operations in the future.  Below is a list of some of those developments:

  • In the event of future health related challenges, we are prepared to offer a wide range of clinical and training experiences via telesupervision and telehealth means.  For example:
    • All clinical staff, including interns, will have portable laptops available for the flexibility of pivoting quickly to a work-from-home scenario if necessary.
    • Our EMR is cloud-based and securely accessible online.
    • Staff have been trained in telework and telesupervision practices.
    • BUCC will continue the use of cloud storage of common documents, for ease of accessibility, including remote access if necessary.
  • BUCC has made several adaptations of the training program to acknowledge the changed reality of offering mental health services, such as:
    • We will provide telebehavioral health training as a didactic seminar annually.
    • We will add competency markers for telebehavioral health to the evaluation forms.
    • We may integrate distance-learning experiences into outreach opportunities.
  • We will integrate the flexibility offered by video-conferencing into programming, while still favoring in-person meetings, trainings, and supervisions as being more connecting.  Situations that might benefit from using the video-conferencing format might include:
    • Safety issues (e.g. pandemic)
    • Time constraints during busy times
    • Convenience of not traveling across campus
    • Inclement weather
    • Open House options during Selection Process
    • Outside speakers can provide unique training seminars without having to travel

Also, be reassured that regardless of circumstances, interns are full-time salaried employees like other permanent staff at BUCC.  As such they are covered by the same Baylor HR policies, and have the same resources and support.  Flexibility is the operative word during these times, so we are prepared to respond as safety circumstances change without our training program being fundamentally compromised in its goals.   We are highly invested in the training of future psychologists, and have built the ability to adapt into our training program to ensure that we can continue to do this with excellence.