Internship and Field Education Placement Detail

If you have already applied for a position, please contact the placement directly instead of Aquinas Institute.

Job Title: Bereavement Care and Grief Support: Bethesda Hospice Care
Location: St. Louis
State: Missouri
Position Description:

Job Title: Bereavement Care and Grief Support: Bethesda Hospice Care

Location: St. Louis

State: Missouri

1630 Des Peres Rd.
Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63131


Bethesda Hospice Care is a division of Bethesda Health Group, a 128-year-old provider of health care services in the St. Louis area. Bethesda Hospice Care provides care for terminally ill patients and their families, as well as bereavement care for family members of deceased patients, and grief support to the community.

In addition to direct patient care, Bethesda Hospice Care provides bereavement support to family members and to the community at large. The Bereavement Intern will work with the Outreach Coordinator and the Bereavement Assistant to assist with bereavement care and grief support for patients and family members.

The learning contract may include: providing bereavement care through telephone calls and in-person visits with bereaved family members, assisting with/facilitating grief support groups, assisting with bereavement mailers, providing grief education, making patient visits to provide emotional support for anticipatory grief, helping plan the annual 5k/1k Memorial Walk, and/or other bereavement-related tasks according to the goals chosen by the student. The Bereavement Intern will have the opportunity to apply theological principles, and to be a sign of God's presence and loving care. 

Requirements: Bereavement Interns are required to:

*Complete Bethesda Health Group volunteer application

*Provide two references
*Have a criminal background check and a Missouri Family Care Safety Registry (FCSR) background check, with the results received prior to the start of the semester.
*Provide a copy of his/her current driver's license.
*Provide proof of auto insurance.
*Provide a copy of his/her social security card, for the FCSR background check.

*Have an up-to-date flu shot, during flu season

*Take a TB Test and receive results prior to the start of the semester (only if serving 10 hours a week or more of direct-patient care)

*Participate in a 2-hour new volunteer orientation, prior to the start of the semester

There is no cost to the student for the entry requirements – Bethesda Health Group will cover all background check fees and provide for medical requirements (TB test and/or flu shot). Each requirement should be completed before the first day of class. All requirements must be met before interns visit patients. The volunteer coordinator will assist with completing these requirements.

Schedule and Location:
The hospice office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Depending on an intern’s learning contract, some evening or weekend hours may be required to assist with grief support groups. Some schedule flexibility may also be available, if the intern is doing tasks which do not require them to be in the office, such as making bereavement phone calls or visits.

The hospice office is located at 1630 Des Peres Rd. However, depending on their learning contract, the Bereavement Intern may also visit with patients and/or families at Bethesda communities or in their own homes. Bethesda communities include: Bethesda Dilworth, 9645 Big Bend in Webster Groves; Bethesda Southgate, 5943 Telegraph Road in Oakville; and Bethesda Meadow, 322 Old State Road in Ellisville.

Number of Positions Available: 1

Past Aquinas Institute Interns at This Site:

  • Br. Isaac Anderson, OP (FA12/SP13),
  • Br. John Paul Phillips, OP (SP10),
  • Mary Catherine Heimburger (FA09)



Leslie Schaeffer, MSW, LCSW
Outreach Coordinator

Julie Strassman, M.Div.
Volunteer Coordinator / Bereavement Assistant


Supervisors' Bios/Additional Comments:

Leslie Schaeffer, MSW, LCSW: Leslie Schaeffer has been employed with Bethesda Hospice Care since January 2012. She serves as the Outreach Coordinator, which includes direct coordination of all bereavement services, veteran services, and outreach services, as well as supervision of the volunteer program. She received her MSW from UMSL in 2011 with a focus on Gerontology, and received her LCSW in March 2017. Her previous professional experience includes working with people with developmental disabilities as a Case Manager at the Department of Mental Health, and working with abused and neglected children at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.

Leslie’s passion involves working with any population in need, but most recently has been focused toward providing exceptional care to patients and families at end of life. She offers individual grief counseling, grief support groups, veterans’ counseling, veteran support groups, community presentations, assistance with advance directives, and other best practice services. Leslie initiated two new programs into Bethesda Health Group: the Annual 5K/1K Memorial Walk, and the Veteran Honor Escort Ceremony. She is a board member of the Social Work Leaders in Healthcare of Metro St. Louis, Inc., and lives in St. Charles with her husband and 1-year-old daughter.

Julie Strassman, M.Div.: Julie Strassman is an alumna of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO, having attained her M.Div. in 2011. She serves as the Volunteer Coordinator and Bereavement Assistant for Bethesda Hospice Care, coordinating their hospice volunteer program and assisting with bereavement care and grief support groups. Previously, she served five years as a volunteer coordinator and social justice educator with Kingdom House, a social service nonprofit in inner city St. Louis, where she supervised Contextual Education interns for Eden’s M.Div. program. Julie is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Ministry at Eden, with an emphasis in theologically inspired bereavement care.

Additional Comments: The Outreach Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator/Bereavement Assistant will work together to provide direct supervision for the Bereavement Intern. The Volunteer Coordinator/Bereavement Assistant will provide theological reflection, helping the Intern to reflect upon the impact of faith formation, scholastic learning, life experience, talents, and preferences, and how these factors shape the student's ministry.

January 2018

Required Qualifications:
Desired Qualifications:
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