My Summer at Brigham and Women's Hospital

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to intern at Brigham and Women's Hospital as a research assistant and summer student. And I must say, this was one of the most valuable experiences I've ever had.

I came into the program wanting to do more administrative duties and more behind the scenes tasks. I thought about continuing my education in social work. I also thought of doing office work, similar to a receptionist or secretary. I was also interested in health and wellness and the education behind that. Honestly, I had no clue what I wanted to do. What I did know, was that I wanted to do something in health care (preferably in maternal and child care) where I would be impacting the lives of our future generations. The health care field is so vast and there are so many opportunities to really create your own path and advance in your career.

The culture at BWH is amazing! Everyone seems to be so kind, caring, and supportive. Maybe it's because we all possess the same goals? Or was it because I was working in the Newborn Medicine Department? Who knows, but I'm glad I'll be working here per diem throughout the school year!

Every Wednesday, about 10 other interns including myself, had a program lunch where a health professional would come in to give us insight on their careers and the paths that led them to where they are today. We were able to talk to pediatricians, researchers, neonatologists, bilirubin physicians, social workers, parent support specialists, and so many more professionals.

On Thursdays, we would have clinical rounds, which consisted of a more hands-on approach in the NICU and nursery. Some days, we went into the nurseries to watch and help perform assessments of the newborns. Other times, we were able to intubate preterm dummies.

I also had the chance to shadow several healthcare workers such as a social worker, a NICU nurse, the Newborn Medicine Administrator, and a lactation consultant. I think shadowing professionals is one of the most valuable ways to gain insight on what a career is really like. While all jobs were meaningful, I definitely enjoyed shadowing the lactation consultant the best. Their jobs seem to be really hands-on and interactive, which is something I discovered I really enjoyed doing. Not only are they up and moving, but they are also teaching the public how to feed newborns. This can be especially difficult if the baby is a mother's first child or even if the baby is born preterm.

When I wasn't busy shadowing or attending clinical rounds and lunches, I'd be helping my mentor with her research and other small tasks. This included a data analysis on a protein predictor of inflammation in the premature gut, in which I was able to present my findings to the Department of Newborn Medicine. I also helped with data extraction and entry, helping to edit clinical policies, drafting/designing information sheets for public use, and honestly so much more!

By participating in internships, you get to gain experience and learn about what you like and dislike. I believe that this extremely important because being stuck with a mundane and boring job is one of the worst things ever. From past work experiences, I've discovered that for me, it doesn't really matter what I'm doing. As long as I'm working with people I enjoy being around, I'd be more than happy to carry on any task. Honestly, I could be cleaning toilets (which I did as a lifeguard working for the state last summer) and I would still enjoy it because I'd be working with people I liked.

I arrived at BWH believing that I wanted to do something administrative and ended with possibilities in nursing and teaching. Working at a teaching hospital has truly been so rewarding. They provide so many opportunities that really allow you to learn so many things every single day. Overall, this summer has been one of the most eye-opening experiences and I really look forward to working here in the future!


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