Tufts Pre-Health

Anecdotes and advice about preparing for a career in health

Tag: Internships

Expanding your Knowledge Base over the Summer

Last summer I participated in the Cohen Children’s Hospital Summer Research Internship Program on Long Island. Many divisions of Cohen Children’s Hospital select from one to four students to participate in a research project for eight to ten weeks over the summer. I worked in the Allergy and Immunology Division, where I performed data collection for two separate studies for half the day, and had the opportunity to shadow doctors in the office for the rest of the day. In doing data collection, I learned how to read patient charts as well as how to understand the indications for many different blood tests and diseases for the studies I was working on: MBL deficiency and rituximab usage.  The Internship Program also provided a weekly lunch and presentation by researchers in the Northwell Health system who discussed the research they were conducting and how they reached their level of expertise in the medical field.  This experience was extremely rewarding, and I encourage anyone interested in medicine to apply to research internships that interest them and will help them expand their knowledge of the field as a whole.  

Brooke Juhel, Class of 2021

Contextualizing Your Growth

            I interned in the Emergency Department of Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. An ED is a fast-paced environment, constantly evolving with patient needs that are comprehensive in volume and variety, in urgency and complexity. One of my main responsibilities during my internship was to serve as a patient advocate – I had the privilege to comfort patients, converse at length with them, and hear about their life stories. I endeavored to find ways to improve their stay – short or long – and served as a bridge between the patient and provider. In addition to this role, I had to opportunity to learn from attendings and residents. Everyday presented an opportunity to learn, about the science that underpins the practice of medicine but also the humanity that is integral to delivering equitable and patient-centered care.

            My summer internship was intensive in all aspects – in education, emotion, and experience.  It was easy to feel overwhelmed, and I returned to my dorm everyday with countless stories and notes scribbled with medical knowledge I’d learned. For me, journaling during my internship allowed me the opportunity to digest and reflect on each day. By writing it down, journaling allowed me to synthesize the lessons I’d learned. Journaling motivated me to think critically about ways in which I could be a better patient advocate, and gave rise to project ideas that I proposed to my supervisor that would improve the efficiency of the ED. Journaling positioned me to better utilize my internship, ask more effective questions, and better prepare myself for the next day. From a macroscopic level, journaling allowed me to record my experiences and the valuable memories, lessons, and insights I gained from my internship. Writing down these experiences allowed me to reflect and form connections with my studies and research interests. With these reflections, I was able to analyze my experience, and its interactions with my life, learning, and career aspirations.

            When journaling, be consistent. Try to set aside a scheduled time each day (or week) to write. Let your entries be reflective of what you’re learning – about yourself and the internship. Ask yourself about your goals for the internship, what critical issues you witnessed, moral or ethical questions that arose, and reflect on moments where you took charge. Write about how a particular task or project made you feel, whether or not you enjoyed it, and if you can see yourself doing it in the future. Don’t be afraid to soul-search a bit.

Ultimately, make your journal your space to contextualize your growth.

Andrew Hwang, Class of 2022

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