Neuropsych Internship chances

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neuro_newbie

Ph.D Candidate in Clinical Psychology
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Hi all! Long time lurker, first time poster. I am a current 5th year in my program's clinical psychology program. I found neuropsychology a little late (around halfway through my third year), thoroughly enjoyed it, and decided to go for it full force. As such, I took an extra year to give myself another year for neuropsych training. For intervention, I have done my hours at my program's clinic, PP, and an LGBTQ community mental health center. For assessment, I have completed neuropsych practicum in PP, an outpatient clinic at an AMC, and next year, I will be doing a neuropsychology practicum across two different VAs (one day a week at each). However, I found neuropsych a little late and both my program and my mentor do not offer neuropsych research experiences. I have, however, attempted to supplement by taking courses in neuroanatomy, medical neuropsychology, and an introductory course to behavioral medicine.

In addition to my VA prac, the AMC I externed at for has offered me a spot in their inpatient cognitive rehab practicum as well. For reference, I am anticipating applying for internship/residency (Fall 2024) and anticipate completing a neuropsychology postdoc afterwards. My questions are 2 fold:

1. Would taking the cognitive regabilitation in addition to my VA pracs be overkill?
2. I know many factors apply to this and the answer is usually "it varies," but generally, what do you believe my chances of acquiring a VA internship/residency (or any other neuro internship) would be?

Thanks so much in advance!

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Not a NP but am currently involved with VA training (and completed non-neuro VA internship and postdoc).
1. Would taking the cognitive regabilitation in addition to my VA pracs be overkill?
If you are pretty solid already on other hour benchmarks like individual & group therapy, having more relevant experiences, especially since you're coming to NP a bit later, seems like a good thing.

But if you are or think you might be short on your general competencies, it might not hurt to review your current & anticipated hours with your TD/other mentors and make sure you're covering all of your general bases since that will be weighed heavily, especially for most VA internships.
2. I know many factors apply to this and the answer is usually "it varies," but generally, what do you believe my chances of acquiring a VA internship/residency (or any other neuro internship) would be?
Having previous VA experience is almost always a good thing for internship.

Lack of neuro research will probably hurt your application at 'top' VA internship sites with strong neuro programs (such as places that also house a good NP fellowship program) since your competition might have similar hours/pracs but also neuro posters/pubs since many of these sites are actively working on research.

But there are tons of VA sites, including many without formal NP tracks, that have a track record of preparing graduates for postdoc and board certification.

If you are geographically open, I'd do a really careful review of all VAs internship sites and pay attention to sites that either require their interns to do a substantial assessment rotation (with the option of doing more) and have multiple staff neuropsychologists who actively supervise. You can reach out to the TD or those specific staff for more info such as outcomes for interns.

And of course, ask your past or current NP supervisors for advice & recommendations such as where they have worked and trained since NP is a pretty small community. Their letters may also carry more weight at those sites if they were well-liked. Good luck!
 
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Just an add-on: I just completed match into a VA as a non-neuro applicant. I interviewed with Tennessee Valley and they actively talked about non-neuropsych interns prepping for post-doc application with substantial rotations, supervision, etc. North and South Texas also have strong Neuro programs and if I were you I'd chat with them about non-neuro interns forging their way as Summerbabe said.

Best of luck!!!!
 
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I'll echo what the above poster said about considering non-neuro internships, as neuropsychology internships are ~extremely~ competitive, and you are coming in with a bit less (although I will say you're making up for it with your coursework and extra pracs). I also had a later entry into neuropsych and am completing my internship at a VA that offered neuro rotations, but I am not the neuropsych intern - I just matched for a neuropsychology fellowship though, so it is doable!! You can message me if you'd like.

I also don't think the cog rehab experience is overkill - you already know this, but coming in a bit later, you really have to grind to make up for it. You're taking the extra year, so might as well fill it up :) Depends on what their expectations are, 1-1.5 days is probably doable on top of these other 2 VA days, but 2 days or more might be too much. Just my two cents.
 
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Hey Everyone!

Sorry if this is better suited a separate post, but I didn't want to take up more space on the forum. I am close to finalizing my site list, and was wondering, based on the above conversation, if people could give their inputs on potential neuro training at these sites.

Baltimore VAMHCS/UMSOM consortium
D.C. VAMC
Denver Medical Health Center
Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center
University of Washington School of Medicine (Will be applying to B-Med and Rehab Neuropsych)
VA Minneapolis
VA New Mexico Healthcare System
VA Paolo Alto
VA Portland
VA Puget Sound - American Lake
VA Seattle
VA San Diego/UCSD
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care
VA Tennessee Valley
VA West LA
VA Western Colorado Health Care System

Any input would be greatly appreciated! Even if it's "hey, this is competitive, you might want more back ups." Or, if you have recs for other sites for me to consider, that is greatly appreciated as well!
 
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Hey Everyone!

Sorry if this is better suited a separate post, but I didn't want to take up more space on the forum. I am close to finalizing my site list, and was wondering, based on the above conversation, if people could give their inputs on potential neuro training at these sites.

Baltimore VAMHCS/UMSOM consortium
D.C. VAMC
Denver Medical Health Center
Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center
University of Washington School of Medicine (Will be applying to B-Med and Rehab Neuropsych)
VA Minneapolis
VA New Mexico Healthcare System
VA Paolo Alto
VA Portland
VA Puget Sound - American Lake
VA Seattle
VA San Diego/UCSD
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care
VA Tennessee Valley
VA West LA
VA Western Colorado Health Care System

Any input would be greatly appreciated! Even if it's "hey, this is competitive, you might want more back ups." Or, if you have recs for other sites for me to consider, that is greatly appreciated as well!

Unless the program has changed, the Sierra Nevada VA has very little neuropsych training, so if your goal is neuro, I don’t think it would really be a great fit.
 
I don't have much first-hand experience with any of the programs listed, but at least as of a few years ago, the VAs at Baltimore, Minnesota, Palo Alto, and SD (and possibly LA, can't keep all the LA sites straight) had solid reputations and, seemingly, training. Not as sure about Puget Sound. The Memphis VA has a strong h/o neuro training, I but don't know much about TN Valley. The Central Arkansas VA used to have a strong neuropsych presence and was probably less competitive just based on location; not sure about now. There are multiple other strong (or at least previously strong) programs scattered around the south and southwest if you're willing to branch out even farther geographically (e.g., University of Oklahoma HSC, Houston and San Antonio VAs, UF/Gainesville, USF, U Miami, Mayo Jacksonville, Emory, Medical College of GA/August VA, UAB). Some, like Arkansas, may receive fewer apps solely because of location (e.g., those outside FL, Atlanta, Houston).
 
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American Lake was a huge ****show, especially for neuropsych. It may be different now that there has been a lot of turnover, but, personally, I'd cross that one off my list, especially for neuro.
 
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American Lake was a huge ****show, especially for neuropsych. It may be different now that there has been a lot of turnover, but, personally, I'd cross that one off my list, especially for neuro.
Oh yikes, that's good to know. Will definitely be reconsidering that one. Thanks for the save!
 
A lot of good advice above. To add, some of the sites you listed have a strong neuro-rehab component like the PRC VAs (Palo Alto & Minnesota) and UWash. These sites especially will value the inpatient rehab experience you mentioned that you were considering. I have participated in intern selection at a similar site, and it was something we specifically looked for.
 
Hey Everyone!

Sorry if this is better suited a separate post, but I didn't want to take up more space on the forum. I am close to finalizing my site list, and was wondering, based on the above conversation, if people could give their inputs on potential neuro training at these sites.

Baltimore VAMHCS/UMSOM consortium
D.C. VAMC
Denver Medical Health Center
Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center
University of Washington School of Medicine (Will be applying to B-Med and Rehab Neuropsych)
VA Minneapolis
VA New Mexico Healthcare System
VA Paolo Alto
VA Portland
VA Puget Sound - American Lake
VA Seattle
VA San Diego/UCSD
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care
VA Tennessee Valley
VA West LA
VA Western Colorado Health Care System

Any input would be greatly appreciated! Even if it's "hey, this is competitive, you might want more back ups." Or, if you have recs for other sites for me to consider, that is greatly appreciated as well!

Portland is good - I did internship there and the neuro intern got a good post doc. I was supervised by neuropsychologists for a testing rotation and felt like I got good training. They also have some really cool PTSD/neuro stuff going on. But back when I applied they cared more about research than clinical experience (or I never would have matched there, haha), so if you're less strong in that area that could be limiting. Again, though, that might have changed in the years since I was there.
 
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