Internship Spotlight: Sophie Johnson, a senior, plans to attend a five-year college to become a physician assistant. She was looking for an internship where she had a great opportunity to become immersed in medicine and applied for a position at the Reading Hospital, which was a new opportunity for Exeter students this year. Courtney Powers, the Director of Community Engagement for the hospital, said that the internship provides experiences that allow students to take what they are learning in the classroom and observe and apply it to real-life situations in a professional healthcare setting. She also said the internship is highly competitive, accepting fewer than half of the students who apply. In addition to traditional medical roles, the hospital also offers internships for students who are interested in human resources, accounting, marketing, HVAC, law and in other non-medical careers. Ms. Powers also said that interns are also given the opportunity to participate in a number of workshops, including financial literacy, resume writing, interviewing skills and more. “Our hospital team members truly love engaging with students and providing these types of experiences for them,” she said.
Q: Sophie, can you tell us a little bit about what you do at your internship?
A: Upon my arrival, I usually clock in using my badge and then I check in with my department supervisor to find out about my tasks for the day. Depending on whether or not she keeps me on pediatrics or sends me to R2E, which is our special care maternity floor, I complete a range of tasks from checking refrigerator temperatures, stocking supplies, answering call bells and phones, observing in patient rooms and shadowing nurses and doctors. I am currently working on a project of reorganizing our playroom, since it closed in previous years due to COVID-19.
Q: Why did you select this as your internship?
A: I found out about my internship through my internship coordinator after applying to another medical internship a few days before. After applying to both, I ended up getting accepted into the one I am currently in. It all kind of happened at once because the internship just so happened to be a brand new opportunity for students from Exeter and other schools in the county; I am actually the first and only student from Exeter to participate in my current internship.
Q: Has this internship helped you decide your college/career goals?
A: With working alongside so many medical professionals each day, I have gotten the opportunity to talk to a variety of people, including medical students. I have received so much good advice, and after countless career conversations, I have decided that a physician assistant is the right path for me because it balances patient interaction with medical diagnoses. Being a social person, one of my favorite things is interacting with patients. A physician assistant allows me to have both that social interaction and a higher level of medical knowledge. I am soon getting the opportunity to shadow both a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner to become exposed to the tasks that each job entails. A nurse practitioner was my other career path option, so this is a perfect opportunity for me to solidify my thoughts and decisions. Also, working in pediatrics and special care maternity has helped me to decide that I love working with children as well as babies and their mothers, and that is something that I can see myself doing in the future within my medical profession.
Q: What have you liked most about your internship? What have you liked least?
A: No two days are the same at the hospital, making it part of the reason I love it so much. I am learning something new every single day. My favorite part of the internship is definitely meeting all of the different patients and shadowing the nurses and doctors during patient assessments and treatments. I have even gotten to hold babies, which has definitely been a favorite thing of mine. Everything I have done at the hospital has benefited me in some way, so I really can't think of anything that has been my "least favorite." Sure there are less exciting things such as answering phones and stocking supplies but those tasks have allowed me to gain better communication and organizational skills in which I value. I have also met so many nice people who treat me as one of their own.
Q: Has anything surprised you about your internship?
A: Yes, I would say the biggest surprise that came from this internship was the amount of opportunities I was presented with. Going in, I knew I was going to have opportunities, but definitely not this many. It honestly blows my mind how much I am able to do. I am doing things that I never imagined I would do at this age.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share?
A: I would like to note that I got very lucky in the aspect that my department manager happens to manage both the pediatrics and the special care maternity units. With that being said, I go back and forth between departments frequently and both teach me completely different things. So in a way, I am learning double because I have double the amount of opportunities through this advantage.
Our deepest thanks to the Reading Hospital for offering this great opportunity to Exeter and other Berks students and for Ms. Powers and Sophie for sharing her great experience this semester! To learn more about hosting an Exeter intern or signing up for an internship in the 2023-24 school year, please reach out to Mr. Mark Ricketts at firstname.lastname@example.org.