Davidson College-Broughton Hospital Summer Study Program

Davidson College sponsors an 8-week summer internship program for undergraduates at Broughton Hospital in Morganton, N.C., a state psychiatric facility serving western North Carolina. Students complete one course credit by taking Practicum in Psychology (PSY 290), which includes working in the hospital and weekly classroom meetings, times to be arranged once the class arrives in Morganton.

Participants work with hospital professionals as observers and assistants in patient treatment programs.

Service to the hospital is an important aspect of all placement options. Expected placement options include the Adult Admission Division, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Division or the Specialty Services Division, which includes the adolescent, geropsychiatry, and medical units.

Program Details

The program generally begins the Tuesday following Memorial Day and runs for 8 weeks. The 2016 program dates will be announced toward the beginning of the spring 2016 semester.  Applications are due each year on April 1. Detailed information about the program is included below.

The 2016 Program Application will be available spring 2016.


The internship program is open to students enrolled as undergraduates at a college or university. High school students, rising college freshmen, graduating college seniors, and graduate school students are not eligible for the program. Davidson students are given priority consideration, though we encourage applications from students at other colleges and universities. Rising college seniors may be given priority as the summer between their junior and senior years is their last opportunity to participate in the program.

We also require that our participants have completed some core courses in psychology, namely general psychology and traditional abnormal psychology (or equivalent), before the program begins. This requirement ensures that our participants have a knowledge base and framework from which to work during the internship. You may apply for the program in the same semester that you will complete these requirements. If you have a question regarding whether a particular course would satisfy one of the requirements, you may contact Dr. Laura Sockol, Program Coordinator.

Important note: Broughton Hospital also runs a doctoral internship program which is separate from the undergraduate internship offered through Davidson. Information regarding the Broughton doctoral internship may be found on the hospital's website.

Instructor & Assistant

Karen Swaim, Ph.D.
Broughton Hospital

Laura Sockol, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator
Davidson College

Rachael Murdock
Program Assistant
Davidson College 


Practicum (PSY 290), Dr. Karen Swaim

This course emphasizes on-site experiential placement, and learning also takes place via classroom discussion of issues and questions that arise from practicum hospital placement. It is assumed that you have previously taken a course in abnormal psychology.

Students are expected to keep a written journal (without patient identifying information) relating what they do on their placement, as well as subjective evaluations, questions raised, and inferences drawn. Journals are due for review on a weekly basis. You are also expected to complete an experience-based paper (again, without patient identifying information). Weekly meetings will address your practicum experiences, questions and special issues that may arise, student and faculty case presentations, and lectures regarding clinical psychopathology. Each student will be responsible for conducting one case presentation to the class, maintaining a journal of experiences, and doing a project that reflects a case-specific diagnostic study, which may require additional research outside of class time.

PSY 290 is graded on a pass/fail basis for Davidson students. For students of other schools, PSY 290 is graded on a pass/fail basis or for a letter grade if requested at enrollment. In general, this course is the equivalent of a challenging semester course or a heavy credit hour quarter course at most colleges or universities. Non-Davidson students should clarify transfer credit with their registrars and should verify the transferability of a pass/fail credit. You should expect that coursework requirements are consistent with regular Davidson College course credit. Essentially, this means that work ordinarily completed over a 15-week semester will be performed in a shorter eight-week timeframe.

Practicum Placements

As the summer session begins, you are assigned to one of the service areas in the hospital. Over the course of the summer, you will rotate through each service area of the hospital so as to gain firsthand experience with each of the different patient populations served by the hospital. Service to the hospital is an important aspect of all placement options. Expected rotations include: Adult Services, Acute and Adult Services, Long-Term; Specialty Services, Adolescent, Specialty Services, Geropsychiatry, and Specialty Services, Deaf Services. Each practicum student will be supervised by a member of the Broughton Hospital Psychology Department who is assigned to that respective division. you will meet with their on-site supervisor for at least one hour each week.

Field Trips

You may have the opportunity to participate in other hospital training opportunities and/or field trips to settings where activities relevant to clinical psychology are occurring.

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers may be invited to meet with students.

Ethics, Professionalism, and Relationships with Patients and Broughton Staff

The relationship between the hospital and the college has been a very positive one, and each year students contribute to that positive relationship. You must consider yourself as operating under the same ethical and professional guidelines as if you are a paid employee of the hospital. All information garnered from patient records, patient interviewing, or other observations must be held in strictest confidence. It is especially important to be careful about comments made off the hospital grounds (such as in restaurants) and comments made around patients. Each student will sign a document that specifies agreement to abide by the particulars of these confidentiality regulations. Equally important are interactions with patients and staff. Students often find it difficult to understand why various treatment interventions or other actions are taken with patients. While students' services to the hospital are valued, it is very important to remember that you are not authorized to take any action with patients unless specifically requested by your supervisor on that particular division. Broughton patients may attempt to manipulate or take advantage of Davidson-Broughton students and may tend to place them in difficult positions. It is also sometimes easy to "over identify" with patients. Please rely on the instructor, supervisors, and Broughton staff members for guidance in patient interactions.

Living Arrangements

You have the option of finding your own local housing arrangements or staying in housing provided on the grounds of the hospital (for a room fee of $150 for the program duration).

  • Dormitory students live in double-occupancy rooms with beds, desks, and dressers, but share communal dormitory-style bathrooms. The dormitories may be shared with professional staff from the hospital. You are expected to follow the strict guidelines of the hospital, including cleaning after using shared kitchen facilities and keeping rooms clean, and to be respectful and courteous of the primary residents' needs and customs. Broughton Hospital may require that you adequately clean your living quarters and forfeit deposits for any damages associated with your living arrangements or hospital property before submitting your grade.
  • You may choose to find alternate local housing arrangements; however, we are unable to help locate off-site housing. Though you may intend to find local housing, the room fee ($150) is still required with the tuition deposit at the application submission date (April 1).  If you find local housing, notification must be made to the Davidson College Psychology Department (704-894-2445, ramurdock@davidson.edu) no later than two weeks prior to the start date of the program for refund of the room fee. We are unable to refund the room fee after that date.


Meals are at your expense. The hospital cafeteria—directly behind Avery Building—is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, with the exception of holidays and/or special circumstances. The largest concentration of restaurants is on South Sterling Street between the hospital and Interstate 40.

Fees & Expenses

  • Student tuition and room fees for 2015 were $1100.  We expect tuition and room fees to increase in 2016 to off-set rising program costs
  • An additional $100 security and key deposit is due by the program start date.  Damage to the student's dorm room, failure to properly clean the room, and/or failure to return the student's room key and name badge will result in forfeiture of this security and key deposit
  • A $100 tuition deposit plus the $150 room fee should be mailed with the application, payable to Davidson College. This $250 deposit will be refunded if the application is not accepted
  • Half of the remaining tuition ($425) with a signed copy of the acceptance letter is due by May 1. If minimum enrollment has not been met by May 1, we will cancel the program and refund all money
  • Otherwise, the balance of tuition ($425) as well as the security and key deposit ($100) is due by the program start date
  • Tuition will NOT be refunded if the student leaves the program after May 1
  • No financial aid from Davidson College is available
  • Davidson students may consult with the Financial Aid office about a student loan

Health Requirements

The Broughton Hospital patient population comprises a variety of individuals including the severely mentally ill. Aggressive individuals, patients with HIV infection, and patients with hepatitis are among this patient population. Most experts recommend the hepatitis B vaccination series for anyone in health care, so prospective students should speak to their physician immediately about the series, which occurs in doses at 0, 1, and 6 months, to allow time to have at least the first two vaccines by the program start date.

Students accepted to the program must either sign a waiver declining the vaccination or must present evidence of having the first vaccine by April 1 (application deadline) and the second by the program start date. In addition, a tuberculosis test within the six months prior to program start date is required and the results brought to the program by start date. Any student who does not have the tuberculosis report submitted by the program start date will not be allowed to work on the ward until this is completed.

More information on the health risks and requirements will be sent to students at time of acceptance notification in the program.