The Volunteer Research Internship Program in Emergency Medicine that I completed this summer provided me with a great experience that allowed me to gain research skills and clinical exposure. All of this was made possible because of the grant I received, and I am incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity. I have found that it is especially difficult to find paid positions as a pre-health student looking for valuable experience. Some other positions within hospitals that I have considered include being a medical scribe, ER technician, or phlebotomist but all require prior training and do not accept summer only positions. Since this research position was unpaid, the grant allowed me to cover the cost of housing and transportation while in Long Island, New York. I was able to use the money to cover part of rent, and all of the costs associated with my commute to work.
I worked alongside ten other research interns who all had similar interests to me. Research interns are introduced to multiple aspects of academic medicine: clinical research, performance improvement initiatives, patient advocacy, and hospital administration. Many programs only give interns the ability to become familiar with one aspect of the healthcare field, but this program provided me with insight into various facets. Throughout the summer I rotated through shifts at both North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Having the chance to experience two unique emergency departments allowed me the opportunity to work directly with the Academic Associates, and indirectly with physicians, nurses, administrators and other hospital personnel. Having the opportunity to converse with physicians, residents, nurses and other healthcare providers was great in order to gain insight into my future career. I also gained valuable connections that will definitely help in the future when I need letters of recommendation for PA school.
My responsibilities throughout the summer included completing literature searches, patient screening tasks, data management duties, and scholarly writing. For someone interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, I think it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the many tiers in the healthcare process. Lastly, one of my favorite responsibilities throughout the summer was serving as a patient advocate and aiding patients in a non-clinical manner. For these shifts, I would accompany doctors or physician assistants to the patient rooms in the emergency department. My role was to keep patients informed about delays, let them know what tests they were having done, and ensure that they were comfortable. One of the research projects we worked on throughout the summer was collecting data for a patient satisfaction study. So, the patients I saw would fill out a survey once they were discharged asking them about their experience. This internship was a perfect culmination of the academic side of medicine and the patient interaction/ clinical side.
I can confidently say that this internship provided me with a constructive experience that confirmed my future career aspirations. It was inspiring to constantly be surrounded by people who are dedicated to helping others and inspired me to enroll for an EMT course this upcoming semester. Having this experience definitely made me more confident that I am on the right track.
Written by Annalise Apt, recipient of a Dean’s Grant sponsored by CELT, 2018