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Internship Program during COVID-19

In March of 2020, as with many healthcare organizations and psychology training programs, Providence Medical Group implemented precautionary measures to adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We have transitioned most of our training program to a remote model. Fortunately, our organization and training program had many of the pieces necessary for remote work in place so our staff and trainees were able to work remotely from home relatively quickly providing telehealth (telephone and Zoom video sessions). Coincidentally, our training program offered a core clinical rotation in telehealth that was in place well before the pandemic began. As a result, our interns were leaders in transitioning to remote patient care not only within our department, but also within our region. Amid this transition to remote care, our trainees have been able to meet their training goals successfully, added high quality telehealth to their competencies, and continue to provide exceptional patient care.

Remote supervision, didactics and other required meetings remain in place through multiple platforms including MS Teams and Zoom. Trainees’ in-clinic presence varies from one day per week to every day of the week and is clinic-specific. Decisions on how often the trainee is physically present in their home clinic is dependent on clinic size and the extent of Covid-19 precautionary measures required to provide a safe training and patient care experience. The majority of the patients continue to be seen via telehealth and patients are encouraged to participate in telehealth; however, in cases where patients are best served with face-to-face sessions, decisions to bring a patient in face to face are made by the trainee, the supervisor, clinic leadership, and with the agreement of the patient.

Safety of patients, trainees and staff is our top priority. As such PMG and the internship program have several safeguards in place.

  • SCREENING. We conduct routine coronavirus symptom screening on patients, visitors and employees at the entrance of all our clinics and hospitals.
  • MASKING. Our facilities have adopted policies that align with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including requiring all patients and employees entering the clinic to wear masks. Masks are provided for all who enter our facilities. In addition, providers are given face shields to additionally wear when providing direct patient care.
  • DISTANCING. We have taken every precaution to ensure appropriate distance between providers, patients, visitors and staff. Additionally, as needed, providers and staff are given plexiglass dividers for added protection.
  • SANITIZING. Our staff are provided disinfectant and regularly clean waiting areas and exam rooms in between visits. Hand sanitizer stations also are located throughout our facilities.
  • SEPARATING. COVID-19 patients, as well as those caring for them, are safely isolated from the rest of the population.
  • VISITORS. We are limiting people coming into our facilities to those deemed essential. This helps maintain appropriate physical distancing and reduces spread of germs.