Internships/ Field Experience

Health Services Administration, MS

Health Services Administration (MS) Internship/ Field Experience

The Master of Science Program in Health Services Administration (MSHSA) and the Master of Science Program in Health Services Administration and Master of Public Health Dual Degree (MSHSA-MPH) offers two internship courses (HSA 660 or MPH 567, and HSA 662). Scheduling is highly flexible and individualized in order to meet the needs of both the student and the organization providing the internship. Students should be aware; however, that the majority of the internship experiences occur during the daytime hours (Monday - Friday). Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to arrange his or her schedule with the organization providing the internship in accordance with the requirements of the MSHSA Program.


The essence of internship should be experiential learning and integrative. Specifically, the internship will ensure that students demonstrate and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills as well as management competencies in applied, experiential settings. This practical learning experience as an important component of our curriculum will require students to draw upon, apply and synthesize knowledge, and skills covered throughout the MSHSA program of study.

Internships are required for all students enrolled in the MSHSA-MPH Dual Degree Program. The internship program within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences MSHSA has goals designed to be flexible in a structure where the needs of our students and employers are achieved. In addition, the internship will provide a learning environment where students can experience real work experience and work on tasks and projects relevant to their academic programs and professional interests.

Required Internship Experience:

Students with less than five years of appropriate health care experience including administrative experience are required to complete HSA 660 or MPH 567. The purpose of these internship experiences is to:

  1. Become familiar with the roles and responsibilities associated with the day-to-day work of a health care administrator.
  2. Become involved in various activities and administrative projects at the internship site that achieves the specified goals of the learning contract.
  3. Implement, complete, and report on administrative project(s) as specified in the learning contract.

Students pursuing a career in long-term care administration are required to also complete HSA 662. This third internship will provide advanced specialized and supervised field operation and experience in an appropriated long-term care setting. Students pursuing a career in nursing home administration and desiring to fulfill the requirements as mandated by the State of Florida will find these internships meet their needs.

Furthermore, it is expected that the student will be involved in progressive learning and will experience more complex and demanding activities in each successive internship. Usually, the second internship experience takes place at a different agency or unit/program in the same agency.

Recommended Internship Experience:

Since HSA graduates report that potential employers favor job candidates with previous health care supervisory or health care experience, an internship experience of one or two semesters may be recommended. Students with five or more years of health care experience in a clinical capacity but with little or no previous health care administration experience may find it beneficial to undertake internship training.

The program director determines the appropriateness of a student's previous health care experience, and if an internship experience - usually two semesters - is required as part of the student's academic program. The decision is based upon documentation of academic background, professional history, and health care experience.

Eligibility and Time Frames for Scheduling the Internship:

As noted above, students without two years of appropriate post-baccalaureate work experience in health care organizations are required to serve two internships. For those with no health care experience, the first internship will be scheduled after the successful completion of no less than six courses in the MSHSA curriculum. For those with prior health care experience and those who must complete a second internship, the second internship should be scheduled immediately before or concurrent with the capstone integrative course, HSA 690 Strategic Planning.

Generally, students may not complete an internship in their place of employment. Exceptions to this rule may be approved on a case by case basis by the MSHSA Program Director.

As a general rule, the preceptor and the student should have the learning contract completed and signed no later than two weeks after the start of the semester. The student shall also provide the name, position, site, and overview of the preceptor. This information is to be provided to the MSHSA Program's Director by fax, email, or hand delivered. Failure to meet the two-week time frame may delay the completion of the internship and require the student to retake the course. Further, a grade will not be provided if these requirements are not met.

Prior to formal acceptance into the MSHSA program, all students must provide written documentation of their previous health care experience specifying the exact dates, place of employment, as well as their title, and the name of their reporting supervisor(s).

Securing an Internship:

Past experience has demonstrated that the most effective internships are those selected by the students themselves. Faculty advisors may participate as facilitators for this process by allowing students to select a potential internship site from a list of institutions that offer internship opportunities to Barry University students. The Director has a list of Preceptors who may be available to work with the students should the student have difficulty selecting a Preceptor. In order to be successful and to avoid any delays, students should begin to identify potentials preceptors three to six months prior to the start of the internship.

The Student's Role:

Students should initiate the internship advisement process prior to the appropriate academic semester (second to last semester for HSA 660 or MPH 567, and HSA 662) so that an appropriate experience may be arranged in the following term(s). All students requesting an internship slot must contact their faculty advisor at least thirty (30) days prior to the published registration for the requested semester and provide the advisor with the following information:

  1. An up to date resume.
  2. A summary of the student's goals for the internship.
  3. A list of several choices of the preferred type of institution or program. Barry will do its best to accommodate student interest but there is no guarantee that a specific internship site will be assigned.

Next, the student meets with the prospective preceptor at the internship site to formalize the internship experience. This involves a written learning contract which specifies:

  1. Time schedule.
  2. List at least three appropriate learning objectives for the internship (i.e. "To become conversant with the hospital's accounting system"; "to be involved in the agencies strategic planning and implementation process", etc.).
  3. Initial plan for management project(s) and written report on the complete project(s).

Completing the Internship:

Securing the internship is just the first step. Completing the internship experience, particularly, achieving the goals of the learning contract will be facilitated by the student's focused efforts and involvement.

The Student's Role:

Proactive participation in the assigned internship activities requires the student to be on site for the specified hours and actively engaged in assigned activities, meetings, and project(s). The student will also complete a satisfactory written research project specified in the learning contract by the stated deadline. In addition, the student is required to complete a graduate level paper highlighting the internship, duties performed, learning outcomes, and overview of the project. The paper should be approximately 10 -20 pages in length. The paper for both the HAS and MPH requirements will include: Learning Objectives, Competencies, Leadership Skills, Project Completed, Outcomes, Administrative Overview, and Summary. In addition, what objectives were achieved, what experience gained, and how this will be integrated in your educational experience will be expected. A final grade will be given upon successful completion of all documents. All documents should be provided to the office by the last week of the semester to allow enough time for review. All incomplete assignments will receive an "IP" or In Progress and will be required to complete the internship requirements the following semester.

The Outside Preceptor's Role:

Provide an orientation of the outside organization for the student; guide the student in project development and implementation; supervise project activities on site; participate in student evaluation through completion of evaluation reports submitted to Barry University in a timely fashion. The Preceptor benefits from the projects or special assignments completed by the student often in areas that need immediate attention. The Preceptor also will share current knowledge in the field and benefit from the diverse background that each of their internship candidates brings to the workplace. Students benefit from internships in that they develop an awareness of business' expectations, structure and objectives while assuming actual responsibilities to further develop their business knowledge, interpersonal skills, and decision-making abilities.

The Faculty Advisor's Role:

Guide and supervise the student in the internship project activities. This usually includes contact with the preceptor and student. If needed, the advisor will mediate problems or issues arising between student and preceptor.

Time Expectations:

The three credit internship runs for 200 hours minimum for (HSA 660). For MPH 567, 240 hours are required. HSA 662 requires an additional 250 hours to meet the standards set by the State of Florida to be eligible for licensure in long-term care.


Evaluations of student performance must be submitted in writing to the M.S./H.S.A. faculty advisor by the student's agency preceptor. The Barry University faculty advisor will also assess the student's performance and will, in consultation with the agency preceptor, determine the final grade for each internship. The assessment will consider but not be limited to the following components: professional comportment and demeanor; work productively at the agency; ability to integrate into the organization; ability to work with others; ability to follow directions; content and format of the written project; and ability to meet time frames established. A written report by the student describing the internship experience, the work experiences, and the student's development is also mandatory. This report is graded by the faculty advisor and will be considered as part of the evaluation process.

Role of the Institution Offering the Internship:

The role of the institution offering the internship is to allow candidates the opportunity to experience as many areas of health care management as possible. This may include Quality Assurance, Human Resources, Public Health, Case Management, Admitting/Discharge, Finance & Budgeting, Strategic Planning, Operations, Leadership, Managed Care, and any other area the institution deems relevant to the students' experience.

The institution reserves the right to interview candidates before agreeing to accept the student for their internship.

Upon agreement between both parties, a schedule of hours will be established, which is convenient to both parties to fulfill the required 200 hours per semester per internship for HSA 660, 240 hours for MPH 567, and an additional 250 hours of pursuing long-term care.

Role of the Student:

The student is responsible for assimilating the information in as many health-related areas as possible. Meeting internship guidelines established by both parties and writing a summary evaluation report are essential components of the experience.

Grounds for Termination:

The organization providing the internship reserves the right to refuse or discontinue the availability of its facilities and services to any student who does not continuously meet the professional or other requirements, qualifications, and standards of the outside organization.

This agreement may be terminated by either party by notification in writing, delivered to the other party by registered mail within 60 days of the start date of the individual student internship.

International Students:

International students doing internships must be approved by the Intercultural Center prior to student's start date. Note that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will affect an international student's one year of optional practical training benefits. Please refer to the regulations below taken from 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(i):

  1. Curricular practical training. An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.

This information can also be found in the Barry University graduate academic catalog. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the O'Laughlin Intercultural Center at (305) 899-3082. The office is located in the Landon Building on the third floor, Room 304.

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