Meet Master of Social Work Intern – Kelsey LaBombard

Social worker interns at Community Healthcare of Texas play an essential role within our interdisciplinary team, which is dedicated to addressing the diverse needs of our patients, their caregivers, and loved ones. Through their tenure with us, these interns merge academic expertise with hands-on experience, honing their skills and shaping their path toward future careers in social work.

We enjoyed catching up with Kelsey LaBombard, who shared about her transformative internship experience at Community Healthcare of Texas. As she approaches her graduation from Baylor University this May with a Master’s in Social Work, Kelsey offers insights into her journey and her aspirations for the future.

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

I chose to pursue a career in social work because I’ve always wanted to help people. I also find satisfaction and motivation in the one-on-one connection and conversation with the people I am helping. As a social worker, I want to sit with people and hear their stories so I can learn more about them and empower them to help themselves.

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

I chose an internship at Community Healthcare of Texas for several reasons. First, I have been interested in working with older adults and people in end-of-life care for a few years. Second, I had a friend who interned there the previous year, and I heard only good things about the internship and Becky Shumake as a supervisor.

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

While I am an intern for Community Healthcare of Texas, most of my patients are part of our Pathways Program, which offers supportive care for patients who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, like cancer, but continue to seek curative treatment. I also support patients who are in our Palliative Care program. A typical day for me is spent primarily reaching out to my patients over the phone to assess their strengths, evaluate their needs and current resources, and then research and connect them with additional resources to help them. If my patients prefer, I will occasionally visit them in their homes. I also spend approximately 3 hours a week at Texas Oncology visiting patients who are both on and not on my caseload.

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

What surprised me about interning at Community Healthcare of Texas is the diversity of patient experiences. Not only identity and age but also the complexity of emotions and acceptance of illness, each meeting with a patient can present a unique set of challenges and surprises. Despite thorough case file reviews beforehand, each conversation with a patient is unpredictable. Some patients express uncertainty about their needs, while others require comprehensive support from transportation to mental health to assistance with finances. Additionally, patients’ responses to pain vary greatly, from a desire for solitude to seeking distraction through conversation.

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

After I graduate, I plan to take my licensure exam and work as a social worker in a hospice or palliative care setting.

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

My internship with Community Healthcare of Texas has prepared me for my future career by giving me extensive exposure to many different areas of healthcare, including a patient’s journey before they are admitted to hospice. This opportunity has also bolstered my confidence in communicating with patients and applying the skills acquired through my academic program and internship experiences.

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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