I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are two hospitals in the area that accept practicum students. UCSF Oakland and UCSF San Francisco. I applied to UCSF Oakland for a practicum at the beginning of Feb. I was so excited about doing this, but that excitement was short lived. I got an email from the practicum coordinator saying that they only accept students who are affiliated with a university due to liability reasons. I was SO BUMMED. Of course I understood the reasoning behind this, but I was still frusterated. I gave myself the rest of the day to be bummed but then had to move on.
The next day I decided I really wanted a practicum and I was just going to apply everywhere. So I found hospitals who accept unaffiliated students in a few states over. I really didn't want to have to move for a practicum, but I have come to terms that if I want a practicum (and I do) then I am going to have to move. Chances are it will only be for about 3 months...this is doable.
I have applied to Tucson Medical Center so far, and plan to also apply to Rady's Children's Hospital, Phoenix Children's, UC Davis, and Randall Children's in Oregon. Honestly, I chose places that I knew people who live in the area and places I have been wanting to visit.
My 3 big pieces of advice to you regarding practicums:
If you are not currently enrolled in a university make sure the hospitals you are applying to accept unaffiliatedstudents. Call/email the practicum coordinator, introduce yourself first and last name, and ask a few questions.
They all have different application deadlines and requirements, be organized. I have a calendar specifically for application deadlines. I also have each envelope made out with a post it on it with the due date.
If you can get one, take it! The field is getting more and more competitive and a practicum will only help! I hope I get one!
Some feedback I have received regarding my resume is that I need to build it a bit more. I have volunteered at hospitals with the Child Life department for the past 4 years, but I think I need to choose more organizations. So I am going to look into:
Make A Wish
Ronald McDonald House
Local companies that do animal assisted therapy
Oncology/bereavement Summer Camps (for patients as well as families/siblings)