Nicole Rodriguez interned with the Office of James Rough, MD, and gained office management and Excel skills.
How did you get your internship?
To get my internship, I practiced my networking skills by talking with those in my family’s network about what I was doing at school and all of the new skills and techniques I have been learning. I basically advertised everything that I could do. Luckily, I met with Dr. Rough and he was open to me learning the behind the scenes of how an office works and how much hard work goes into the business.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
My most satisfying part of my internship was when I learned and utilized Microsoft Excel. Going into my internship, I hoped to steer away from Excel because of my limited experience in it. But then during the experience, when I realized how valuable it would be for the office, I taught myself how to create Excel sheets. This is meaningful to me because I was always worried about Excel and its many equations to remember but after this experience, I will be more confident and encouraged to take on Excel projects in the future.
In addition, during my internship, Dr. Rough gave me twenty pages of patient handouts in both English and Spanish to look over and edit. This was an important contribution because these were handouts that patients would use to look at to decide what procedure is best for them. I used Adobe to edit and add better wording and copyright info on the bottom of all pages. This was something I worked on throughout my time in the office.
Of course, there were times where there were phones ringing, people waiting to schedule their next appointment, and faxes coming in all at once. At first, I felt very overwhelmed and thought there was no way I could do this, but I had to just focus on what I was doing and take each problem one at a time. I learned that I shouldn’t expect myself to do it all at once, and if someone must wait, then someone has to wait. It took me a while to really understand that.
What new skills did you develop in this internship?
The biggest and most noticeable skill that I practiced was my interpersonal ‘people’ skills. I consider myself as someone who is typically shy and quiet, and through this internship experience I had to force myself to engage and be active when communicating with patients.
Another skill I developed that I consider a big win was the use of Microsoft Excel. As I mentioned, I taught myself Excel and then created sheets that would help the office manager organize past work she did into structured documents that would be easier to read and use in the aid of running the office.
How did your Applied Humanities major coursework help prepare you for the internship experience?
The Public and Applied Humanities (PAH) classes that I took helped me to get an understanding of the human side of the community, because through my PAH classes, I developed a strong base for communication and people skills. The projects that were required in these classes pushed me into developing these people and project management skills. When starting my internship experience, it helped knowing that I had the foundation to these skills and that with time I could build and strengthen them here in the office.
What advice do you have for other students as they begin their internship?
Internships can be scary at first, because the experience is something new and you want to make a great first impression so you might feel that making mistakes are a bad thing. This kind of thought process doesn’t help you though. You must be open to making mistakes and learning from them, taking constructive criticism, and running with it when you take on a new project or task. This should be an amazing and fulfilling time for you in your academic life, as the skills, and insights that you get from these internship experiences will be with you for the rest of your life.