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Why did you choose your internship and what was the focus of the experience?
I decided to apply to the Patient Experience (PX) Internship because of the unique opportunity it provides for interns to work in a Banner medical center, interacting daily with patients and health care providers. For a long time I've been interested in pursuing medicine as a career, but I was never really sure if I wanted to work in a hospital setting, in a private practice, as a doctor, or as a researcher. I wanted to take this opportunity to work in a clinical setting to learn more about and interact with all the different actors involved in a patient's care. As well, I wanted to learn more about the importance of patient experience and have a hand in improving patients' health journeys.
The internship's primary focus is on learning about and improving the patient experience through comfort rounding completed by students during their shifts. This means students work in a hospital unit and go into patient rooms to interact with them and inquire about how their stay can be improved (if we can get them food, water, or blankets, if their nurses and doctors are doing a good job, etc.), if they understand what is going on with their treatment, and how they are feeling about their care and treatment timelines. I would then take care of any immediate, non-clinical actions (for example showing them where their call light is located or grabbing water) and relay questions or concerns to their nurse, doctors, medical technicians, case workers, etc. as needed. Ultimately, students produce a research paper using primary and secondary sources focusing on detailing patient experience within Banner and providing suggestions for improving the patient health journey.
What new knowledge and skills did you practice, learn, or develop in this internship?
During my internship I improved upon and developed a number of skills including communicating carefully and respectfully about health with a variety of individuals. I developed skills in comfort rounding on patients, something I haven't done before this internship, such as interacting with patients and being an effective intermediary regarding questions and concerns between patients, guests, nurses, and doctors. I learned a lot during this experience about the inner workings of a hospital unit, especially the administrative aspects.
My internship experience has reinforced my interest in pursuing medicine, but has emphasized the importance of the patient experience to improving their healthcare experience. I have learned a lot about how to improve the patient experience and how that can start with the healthcare provider. I am excited to bring this forward into my potential future career and continue learning about how to improve the patient experience along with treating their physical health.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for or begin their internship?
To students searching for an internship, ask around to friends, professors, and advisors about internships they’ve done, heard about, or can set up for you. I found my internship after talking with my pre-health advisor and later learned that a lot of my friends and acquaintances had either done the internship in the past or were applying during the same cycle as me.
To students starting their internship, keep an open mind about what you can and will achieve during your experience. Opportunities and challenges you weren’t expecting may arise.