Meet Master of Social Work Intern – DeDe Bragg

For Master of Social Work students, internships are not only a degree requirement but also a pivotal point in their professional growth. This invaluable experience bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Every year, Community Healthcare of Texas interns become important members of our interdisciplinary teams caring for patients and families diagnosed with a serious illness.

In honor of Social Work Month, we recently had the privilege of hearing from DeDe Bragg as she reflected on her journey with Community Healthcare of Texas and her plans following her anticipated graduation in May 2024 from the Dianna Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University in Waco.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in social work?

I have always been interested in helping others. After raising my children, I was ready to go into a career where I could help people on a meaningful level. When my mom received a diagnosis of dementia, I faced several challenges, including minimal support or empathy. It was through that experience that I realized there was a critical need for empathetic and understanding care, not just for the patient but also for their families.

Why did you choose to join Community Healthcare of Texas for your internship placement?

Becky Shumake, my supervisor at Community Healthcare of Texas, is the reason I chose this organization for my internship. I appreciated her direct, strengths-based perspective. From our interactions, I felt that I could learn a great deal from her while also being able to authentically express myself.

While there may not be a “typical” day in your role, describe some of your responsibilities during your internship.

As a Palliative Care and Pathways intern, I engage with clients to assess their needs, research different options available for making a referral, complete important paperwork such as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) documents, and listen intently to their concerns. Each day, I enhance my skills in supporting clients with redirection of thought processing or different modalities for helping them. I also continue to stay informed about different aspects of regulations and laws that could impact the patients and families we serve.

Is there anything that has surprised you about working with our patients?

Yes, I have been surprised by the number of people facing a potentially terminal diagnosis, as well as the varying levels of comprehension about their disease and the medications they are taking. It’s confirmed to me the important role palliative care plays in healthcare.

Have you decided on a social work specialization after graduation? If so, what?

I am currently on the clinical path and plan to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) after graduation, focusing on helping people in the same capacity through hospice and palliative care.

How has your experience with Community Healthcare of Texas prepared you for your future career?

I have learned the value of patience and accepting that I can’t help everyone without taking it personally. It’s also affirmed to me that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Additionally, throughout this internship, I’ve refined my ability to prioritize tasks and to truly listen to the needs of patients.

To learn more about palliative care options available for you or your loved one, call us at (800)958.4942 or visit



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