From the MSW Internship Program at the UALR School of Social Work

Focus on the Field, featuring Alicia Boyd pictureFor Alicia Boyd, interning at Arkansas Children’s Hospital is personal. She remembers her own childhood experience receiving treatment there from doctors and nurses who were kind and gentle. Now she wants to be the helping hand that others were for her. As a second-year social work intern Alicia is about to graduate with her MSW degree from UALR’s Graduate School of Social Work. After rigorous academics and two years of real-world internships, she’s ready to enter the field as a qualified professional. But Alicia says she doesn’t want to work anywhere else- she thinks she’s finally found her niche!  Started a hundred years ago as a haven for orphaned, abused or neglected children, Arkansas Children’s Hospital continues today as the only pediatric hospital in the state, and one of the largest in America. The hospital employs dozens of social workers, like Jennifer Taussig, Alicia’s field instructor, who volunteered to supervise Alicia throughout the year. “Alicia has a fresh approach and energy towards advocacy and problem-solving that has been helpful for me as a social worker,” says Taussig.
Alicia also feels she’s getting the experience she needs. She tells of one family with whom she works closely: a mother and son who are fighting the boy’s brain tumor. As the child’s sole caregiver, the mother is exhausted. Her husband and family are out of country and she has few other people to help ease her burdens. “She needs support – someone to just hold her hand sometimes,” Alicia says. “I try to provide opportunities for her to talk about what she is going through and to find hope.” Field instructor Jennifer Taussig points out, “Alicia’s probably been the one person at the hospital that this mom has really connected with.” But Taussig says Alicia does more than provide emotional support. Through advocacy, she has been successful in speeding up the father’s visa review so he can join the family in the United States sooner than expected. Alicia feels that her work with families is therapeutic because it builds on their own assets. “I want to be able to say ‘you have a lot of strengths that are going to help you through this,’ and I try to highlight those strengths.”
This article is part of series highlighting the work of MSW interns from the UALR School of Social Work.
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— with Alicia Boyd.

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