Recreational Therapy

Education and Training

Student Internship/Field Placement Program

The Recreational Therapy Section at the NIH Clinical Center has the resources, environment and opportunities to challenge the most curious, intelligent and inquisitive of students. The Student Internship/Field Placement Program details include:

  • Only senior and graduate internships are available
  • A 3.0 undergrad cumulative GPA is required
  • The basic/minimum internship requirement is 15 weeks/600 hours
  • A recent health exam, proof of professional liability insurance, a complete transcript, full resume, and two writing samples are required
  • An affiliation agreement is required between the university/college and NIH

Students accepted for an NIH internship experience will have the benefit of a complete formal orientation, supervision by a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and continuing clinical education which includes hands-on clinical practice. Interns will be given consistent feedback, both informal and formal supervision, coaching and encouragement. Interns at NIH will be expected to document an electronic medical record, attend at least one seminar or grand rounds per week, and practice many of the skills learned in their academic curriculum. The internship is full-time (40 hours per week) for 15 weeks (600hrs). The internship is not a paid experience. Bethesda, Maryland has a high-cost of living. Often, one can rent within walking distance of the NIH campus. Public transportation allows for living without a car.

Patients at the NIH Clinical Center are all volunteer research participants, who are receiving care under a specific protocol or research study. Recreational Therapists at the NIH strive to improve the functioning and quality of life of the patients participating in biomedical research and thus provide treatment services to all pediatric and adult inpatient care units as well as several outpatient clinics. Patient populations include but are not limited to: pediatric and adult patients who have cancer, rare diseases, and/or complex medical needs, pediatric patients who have mood disorders, and adult patients who have mood disorders, schizophrenia, or an alcohol use disorder. Although it is expected that students will have had some face-to-face contact with the general patient groups they express an interest in working with, the internship experience also encourages students to have contact with a variety of patient populations and age groups in order to improve their professional marketability.

For additional information and/or an application contact:

Rachel Westberg, MS, CTRS
Recreational Therapist, Internship Coordinator
Rehabilitation Medicine Department
National Institutes of Health
Phone: 301-451-7589
E-mail: rachel.westberg@nih.gov

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This page last updated on 09/15/2017

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