Policies & Procedures

UAB PSYCHOLOGY TRAINING CONSORTIUM

Intern Selection:

Required Characteristics

  • Verified progression within a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology.
  • The graduate program must be APA-approved or in the process of APA approval with reasonable likelihood of approval.
  • US Citizenship is required for VA Stipends.
  • Selection decisions are made without regard to age, sex, race, or religion.
 

Preferred Characteristics

  • Scientist-Practitioner, Scholar-Practitioner Model of Training
  • Although we do not designate a required number of practica hours, the selection committee generally favors applicants who have completed higher amounts of assessment experience with appropriate supervision (both general psychological assessment and neuropsychological assessment are valued).
  • Successful applicants will have therapy experience which has been supervised at the doctoral level.
 

Intern Selection Procedure:
Application

  • Applications are due by October 31st (date verified on APPIC website http://www.appic.org/)
  • Completed applications are reviewed for required characteristics. Individuals not meeting these requirements are notified of the withdrawal of their application.
  • ITC faculty members review and evaluate files for their match potential.
  • The overriding mission of the admissions process is to identify applicants who will both desire and benefit most from our internship setting.
  • Ratings are compiled and the committee meets to determine applicants to be interviewed.
  • Notification of interview status is conducted via email.
 

Interview

  • Applicants are given two interview dates from which to choose and are given the opportunity to identify faculty they would like to meet.
  • Interviews are conducted and ratings compiled.
  • Ratings are reviewed by the committee and final selection of rank order is completed and submitted to APPIC.
 

Match Day

  • At the appropriate time on match day, matched interns are contacted by the Training Director.
  • Matched interns are also notified via email as well as USPS mail to obtain appropriate signatures.
  • Letters of recognition of the match are sent to each intern’s program director.
 

Work Environment and Administrative Assistance 
Interns have the opportunity to participate in several rotations in many locations throughout the UAB system. Each site is responsible for providing adequate space and equipment for interns to conduct their training. Most offer designated office space and computers or computer access. All interns may obtain UAB email addresses.

Sites also provide administrative support appropriate to the training activities. The consortium secretary provides general administrative support to all interns.

Work Week 
The work week and clinic hours for support staff of most Medical Center work sites is typically 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. These hours vary somewhat among programs (e.g. some rotations begin at 7:00 a.m.; others end at 6:00 p.m.). The typical workday of interns is expected to be 8-10 hours per day for 40-50 hours per week. Hours outside of the typical workday are expected but vary from site to site and with intern’s preference for scheduling group and individual therapy.

Stipend and Financial Assistance 
Each funding site has required paperwork which is completed at the beginning of the internship year. Stipends are paid on a monthly basis. Additional financial support for professional activities may be available on certain rotations, or at certain stipend sites. These funds may be made available for travel, presentations, books, or other educational materials. It is the responsibility of the intern to inquire about funds. Supervisors and the Training Director are available to discuss details of acceptable, educational experiences as well as budgetary constraints.

Holidays 
New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and day after, and Christmas Day are regularly scheduled Medical Center holidays. In special circumstances, other days may be declared holidays by appropriate administrative authority. The VA adds Presidents Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. VA holidays apply to interns only as they rotate through VA sites. If an intern has duties outside the VA, the trainee is expected to attend to those responsibilities.

Leave
Intern leave includes:
12 days for general use (e.g., vacation, sick, dissertation)
Additional time may be requested for approved professional activity

Using leave request forms (vacation or professional), available from the Consortium secretary, the intern applies to rotation supervisors for planned time away. The intern is responsible for obtaining permission from the year-long supervisor as well as other supervisors and for arranging clinical coverage as necessary. Permission for planned leave time is required. If the intern is ill, he/she must notify the supervisor as soon as possible and do so on a regular basis if illness is prolonged.

Interns should contact the rotation secretary and take whatever other steps are necessary to cancel, reschedule or otherwise cover scheduled clinical contacts. Upon return to work, a sick leave form should be filled out. A copy of all leave forms with appropriate signatures should be given to Consortium secretary for placement in intern’s file.

Leave time may not be used in bulk at the end of the year without prior approval from the year-long supervisor and the Training Director.

Schedules
It is the intern’s responsibility to circulate a copy of his/her rotation schedule and phone numbers where he/she may be contacted to his/her year-long supervisor, rotation supervisors, home office secretary, and Consortium secretary. Every attempt should be made to keep these schedules up-to-date. A new schedule sheet should be made with each rotation change.

The intern is responsible for informing the appropriate secretaries of his/her schedule and patient appointments. This procedure will help insure charts are made, fees are collected, and interview rooms are not double scheduled.

Outside Activities 
All outside activities, including external work, seeing patients, conducting research, outside consultation or public presentations must be approved by the intern’s supervisor and the Internship Training Committee (ITC). In no case is an intern to commit to a training or research activity without due consultation with the supervisor. Initiative is encouraged, but no arrangement should be made before obtaining the consent of the supervisor and the ITC.

Extension of Internship 
The internship is designed to be completed in twelve (12) consecutive months. It may be extended if the intern has been granted personal/medical leave or has not demonstrated satisfactory progress such that the intern will not have completed 2000 hours of internship experience.

If such extensions occur, they will be on a non-stipend basis, as funding cannot be extended beyond the consecutive 12 months period. Such decisions will be made on an individual basis and should be brought to the Training Director and Committee by the intern’s year-long supervisor.

Internship Certificate Award 
Following a successful completion of the internship, the intern is awarded a certificate of completion of internship training. The UAB Psychology Internship also awards the C.J. Rosecrans Intern of the Year Award for excellence in performance. This award is voted on by the PTC faculty and is generally accompanied by a monetary gift.

SUPERVISORS
Year-Long Supervisors
Prior to the internship orientation each intern is assigned a year- long supervisor. This person is the intern’s advocate and (in collaboration with the intern) responsible for the overall plan, organization and conduct of the intern’s training year. The supervisor should meet regularly with the intern, (e.g. weekly or monthly); to review progress and discuss the intern’s training experience. The supervisor will also make reports or convey requests to the Internship Training Committee (ITC). The supervisor will be responsible for compiling the intern’s other supervisors’ evaluations and, in conjunction with the ITC, evaluating the intern’s progress with regard to training activities and professional development.

Rotation Supervisor 
A rotation supervisor is a faculty psychologist or other professional approved by the ITC who teaches, instructs, observes, and otherwise assumes direct responsibility for a specific clinical training activity. Each rotation has a rotation supervisor who is responsible for coordinating the intern’s activities. Supervisors will evaluate interns near the conclusion of a training activity or rotation. Evaluations are discussed with the intern and communicated to the year-long supervisor.

Case Supervisor 
During the course of the internship year, interns may continue or begin therapy with clients/patients in settings where the intern is not currently on a rotation. The supervisor for the case(s) is considered a case supervisor. This supervisor is usually responsible for a portion of the 2-4 year-long cases that interns are expected to maintain.

Psychology Training Committee
The Psychology Training Committee is comprised of the faculty and staff psychologists that are involved in the training of psychology students. PTC meetings occur on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 12:00 noon in Volker Hall, L108H conference room. These meetings include internship updates, information from the intern representative, and informal evaluations of intern progress. The PTC conducts formal evaluations of intern progress in November, March, and June(the third month of rotation 3).

During the first weeks of the internship year, the interns will choose a representative to attend the PTC meetings. The representative has the opportunity to present any issues of general concern in the Internship and to provide feedback to the ITC on the training program. The only meetings not open for attendance by an intern representative are those involving intern evaluations. Each intern class may determine if one person will serve as the representative for the class or if the interns will rotate periodically throughout the year.

Problematic Behavior 
Problematic Behavior refers to behavior which interferes with professional functioning. These behaviors may include any of the following:

  • Inability to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency
  • Inability to control personal stress, strong emotional reactions, and/or psychological dysfunction which interfere with professional functioning.
  • Inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional ethics or standards into one’s professional behavior.

Interns may demonstrate certain attitudes, characteristics, or behaviors which are appropriate for their level of training. These behaviors may be of concern and possibly remediation, but are not necessarily considered problematic. Behaviors are typically identified as problematic in the following situations:

  • the intern does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem when it is identified
  • the quality of services delivered by the intern is negatively affected
  • a disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required
  • the trainee’s behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, and/or time. II.

Remediation and Disciplinary Actions 
Formal disciplinary action may include verbal warning, written warning, probation, and termination. Usually this represents a linear progression but is not necessarily followed depending upon the problematic behavior. In cases where personal or public property has been stolen, defaced, disfigured, damaged, or destroyed, the disciplinary action may also include restitution.

The Director of Clinical Training at the intern¡¦s university is contacted once a written warning, probation, or termination occurs, but may also be notified at the time of a verbal warning as well.  Every effort is made to interact with the university DCT to offer remediation plans and support to the intern. The disciplinary actions are defined as follows:

Verbal Warning: The intern is given verbal feedback from a supervisor and/or the training director to emphasize the need to discontinue the inappropriate behavior under discussion. No record of this action is kept.

Written Warning: The intern is given written feedback indicating the concern of the Training Director and PTC regarding the problematic behavior. The feedback also documents the discrepancy between the intern¡¦s performance and the faculty expectations. A remediation plan is outlined as specifically as possible (target behaviors, timeline, etc.) and the implications of failure to accomplish remediation are reviewed.

A copy of this letter will be kept in the intern’s file. Removal of this letter at the end of the internship will be considered by the Training Director and the PTC.

Probation: The intern is given a time-limited, remediation-oriented, closely supervised training period. The purpose is to assess the ability of the intern to complete the internship and to return the intern to a more fully functioning state. Privileges may be revoked and the intern may be terminated for unsuccessful completion of the remediation plan outlined in the probation terms. Probation terms will include identification of the specific behaviors targeted for remediation, the process suggested for remediation and the means of reevaluating behavior change. Information regarding Probation remains in the intern¡¦s file along with written confirmation of the results following the probationary period.

Termination: Dismissal from the internship results in permanent withdrawal of all internship responsibilities and privileges. When remediation plans do not rectify the problem behavior or concerns the Training Director and the PTC will determine the possibility of termination of the intern¡¦s position. This action is considered the last available option and is taken seriously by the Training Director and PTC.

Terminated interns will not receive a certificate of internship completion.

Evaluations
Evaluation is an ongoing process and the ITC strongly encourages supervisors and interns to share feedback with each other throughout the year. Formal intern evaluations are held at approximately three, seven, and eleven months within the internship year. These evaluations will be based on feedback from the rotation supervisors and case supervisors given to the year-long supervisor who presents this information before the ITC. This formal evaluation allows for early identification of deficits which need remediation and for communication among ITC faculty of the strengths and weaknesses of individual interns. The evaluation also assures the interns of regular feedback as to their progress in the process. The supervisor reviews the feedback with the intern and the written evaluation will be placed in the intern’s permanent file by the Consortium secretary.

Interns are responsible for evaluating the internship program. Rotation and case supervisor evaluation forms will be given to interns at the end of the year and returned to the Training Director. Interns will also evaluate rotations, supervisors, and year-long supervisors and their overall internship experience. These evaluations are conducted via anonymous forms as well as during an exit interview with the Training Director.

Guidelines for Responding to Inadequate Performance by an Intern
These guidelines represent the general format for responding to inadequate performance (problem behaviors, ethical violations, inadequate skills) by an intern. The procedures can be altered to meet the needs of each individual situation, with the top consideration for the best interest of the intern¡¦s training experience and the professional practice of psychology.

Training faculty first discusses the concern with the intern in an effort to informally resolve the issue. This level of intervention is discussed during the rotation evaluation at the discretion of the faculty member.

If the faculty member is dissatisfied with the results of the informal intervention, the issue is brought to the attention of the Training Director and the intern¡¦s Year-Long Supervisor. Plans for additional informal intervention are discussed. Usually the intern is involved in this process. This level of intervention is discussed during the rotation evaluation and may be informally discussed with the intern’s DCT from their university.

If the results of the previous intervention are unsatisfactory, the Training Director will initiate a written warning letter that will be reviewed with intern and placed into the intern’s file. The DCT will be contacted by the Training Director and may be sent a copy of the written warning letter.

Dissatisfaction after a written warning will result in probation and potentially termination from the internship program as outlined by the remediation plans.

Due Process General Guidelines
Due process ensures that decisions about interns are not arbitrary or personally based. It requires that the Training Program identify specific evaluative procedures which are applied to all trainees, and provide appropriate appeal procedures available to the intern. All steps need to be appropriately documented and implemented. General due process guidelines include:

  1. During the orientation period, presenting to the interns, in writing, the program’s expectations related to professional functioning. Discussing these expectations in both group and individual settings.
  2. Stipulating the procedures for evaluation, including when and how evaluations will be conducted. Such evaluations should occur at meaningful intervals.
  3. Articulating the various procedures and actions involved in making decisions regarding the problem behavior or concerns.
  4. Communicating, early and often, with graduate programs about any suspected difficulties with interns and when necessary, seeking input from these academic programs about how to address such difficulties.
  5. Instituting, when appropriate, a remediation plan for identified inadequacies, including a time frame for expected remediation and consequences of not rectifying the inadequacies.
  6. Providing a written procedure to the intern which describes how the intern may appeal the program’s action. Such procedures are included in the intern handbook. The Intern Handbook is provided to interns and reviewed during orientation.
  7. Ensuring that interns have sufficient time to respond to any action taken by the program.
  8. Using input from multiple professional sources when making decisions or recommendations regarding the intern’s performance.
  9. Documenting, in writing and to all relevant parties, the actions taken by the program and its rationale.
Due Process Procedures 

The basic meaning of due process is to inform and to provide a framework to respond, act or dispute. When a matter cannot be resolved between the TD and intern or staff, the steps to be taken are listed below.

Grievance Procedure
There are two situations in which grievance procedures can be initiated.

  1. In the event an intern encounters any difficulties or problems (e.g. poor supervision, unavailability of supervisor, evaluations perceived as unfair, workload issues, personality clashes, other staff conflict) during his/her training experiences, an intern can:
    1. Discuss the issue with the staff member(s) involved;
    2. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the intern should discuss the concern with the TD or member of the management team;
    3. If the TD or member of the management team cannot resolve the issue, the intern can formally challenge any action or decision taken by the TD, the supervisor or any member of the training staff by following this procedure:
      1. The intern should file a formal complaint, in writing and all supporting documents, with the TD. If the intern is challenging a formal evaluation, the intern must do so within 5 days of receipt of the evaluation.
      2. Within three days of a formal complaint, the TD must consult with the Director and implement Review Panel procedures as described below.
  2. If a training staff member has a specific concern about an intern, the staff member should:
    1. Discuss the issue with the intern(s) involved.
    2. Consult with the TD.
    3. If the issue is not resolved informally, the staff member may seek resolution of the concern by written request, with all supporting documents, to the TD for a review of the situation. When this occurs, the TD will:
      1. Within three days of a formal complaint, the TD must consult with the Director and implement Review Panel procedures as described below.

Review Panel and Process

  1. When needed, a review panel will be convened by the Director. The panel will consist of three staff members selected by the Director with recommendations from the TD and the intern involved in the dispute. The intern has the right to hear all facts with the opportunity to dispute or explain the behavior of concern.
  2. Within five (5) work days, a hearing will be conducted in which the challenge is heard and relevant material presented. Within three (3) work days of the completion of the review, the Review Panel submits a written report to the Director, including any recommendations for further action. Recommendations made by the Review Panel will be made by majority vote.
  3. Within three (3) work days of receipt of the recommendation, the Director will either accept or reject the Review Panel’s recommendations. If the Director rejects the panel’s recommendations, due to an incomplete or inadequate evaluation of the dispute, the Director may refer the matter back to the Review Panel for further deliberation and revised recommendations or may make a final decision.
  4. If referred back to the panel, they will report back to the Director within five (5) work days of the receipt of the Director’s request of further deliberation. The Director then makes a final decision regarding what action is to be taken.
  5. The TD informs the intern, staff members involved and if necessary members of the training staff of the decision and any action taken or to be taken.
  6. If the intern disputes the Director’s final decision, the intern has the right to contact the Department of Human Resources to discuss this situation.

Grievance Procedure
Procedure for filing a grievance
When an intern contends that any disciplinary action (warning, probation, termination) is unfair, or that due process has not been followed, the intern may address the grievance in a variety of avenues. In general, the specific contention should be addressed by following a standard hierarchy. This hierarchy may be altered due to the parties involved.

  1. If possible, the grievance should first be addressed through open discussion between the particular parties (e.g. intern and rotation supervisor).
  2. The year-long supervisor may be consulted at any time to offer guidance and support, but will generally allow the intern to address the issue with the specific faculty member. The year-long supervisor may assist with communication between parties as needed.
  3. The intern may also report directly to the training director. Again the year-long supervisor can offer guidance and support during the process.
  4. If resolution has not occurred to the satisfaction of any of the parties, the intern may submit their grievance to the ITC. This grievance should be submitted in writing and should describe the problem and describe previous attempts to deal with it. This written grievance should be submitted to the intern’s year-long supervisor and to the Training Director within two weeks of receiving the disciplinary action. The Training Director will then put the grievance on the ITC agenda at which time the intern may request to be present during review of the issue. The ITC will investigate the grievance with the supervisor and attempt to gain resolution. If no satisfactory resolution can be reached, the ITC will make a decision regarding the disposition of the grievance.
  5. If the intern is dissatisfied with this resolution, the intern may submit a further appeal in writing to the Executive Committee whose ruling will be final.

Notes: The year-long supervisor serves as the advocate for the intern. If this presents a dual role (i.e. the year-long supervisor is the individual with whom a grievance is involved) then another advocate will be assigned by the Training Director.