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Professionalizing Pre-Health New Clinical Internship Program Provides Rewarding Perspective

17 December 2009 No Comment

Described by participants as critical to future success, Wittenberg’s Clinical Internship Program has opened up significant avenues for students preparing to enter pre-health professions.medical

Originally created by Cathy Pederson, professor of biology, the program works annually with the Springfield healthcare community to develop a list of healthcare professionals who are willing and interested in mentoring pre-health students. Responsibility for the programwas transferred to WittPath Career Services in 2007, and since then more than 60 students have taken advantage of this unique opportunity in the liberal arts.

Not only has the program allowed students to explore various healthcare careers to determine the best fit for them, it also has allowed them to develop lasting relationships with their mentors.

“This experience was fundamental in my learning experience,” said Bethany Rohr ’10 of Wooster, Ohio. “I gained insight Professionalizing Pre-Health New Clinical Internship Program Provides Rewarding Perspective education education education into both the business and patient sides of a physician’s office, and I was able to enjoy working with an amazing doctor in Springfield.”

“I am using my internship experiences as a tool to determine a career in the clinical health field, and my mentors at each of my internship sites have been extremely helpful in inquiring about my interests and informing me of the education required for each profession and its pros and cons,” added Eshini A. Panditharatna ’12 of Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.

Juniors and seniors are eligible to apply, and their majors are generally chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, molecular biology and psychology. Many of the applicants for the Clinical Internship Program have a strong interest in pursuing careers in family medicine, surgery, oncology, pathology, dentistry, veterinary medicine (large and small animal), pharmacy, optometry, orthopedics, cardiology and emergency medicine.

“We have been able to place students with an anesthesiologist, MDs, DOs, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists, optometrists, psychologists, nurses, dentists, cardiologists, and at the Springfield Cancer Center, and Springfield Regional Medical Center emergency room and pharmacy,” said Karen Reynolds, director of WittPath Career Services.

Students work a minimum of 60 hours during the semester, which generally runs for 15 weeks. As part of the program, interns typically shadow their assigned mentors weekly. For some participants, an immediate bond forms, so much so that the interns are allowed to observe surgeries and other medical procedures.

“I have developed great relationships with some amazing healthcare workers, sutured a woman’s head wound closed, performed emergency CPR on a coding patient and gained more insight into medicine than I could ever have imagined,” said Jeremy Baker ’11 of Bowling Green, Ohio.

“I have been able to participate in many commonly used physical procedures such as listening to a healthy lung versus a sick lung, how to remove a wart, how to recognize a disease from key symptoms and so much more,” added William McKelvey ’10 of Gahanna, Ohio.

In addition to working directly with their mentors and being evaluated at their internship sites, participants also must write a weekly journal for review by WittPath Career Services and the program’s faculty advisers Matthew Collier, associate professor of biology, Kevin Gribbins, associate professor of biology, and Stephanie Little, associate professor ofpsychology. Following the conclusion of the internship, the student must present a 15-minute PowerPoint about the experience to faculty, staff and other pre-health students. Mentors also often attend.

“This experience has been so important to me because it has really given me the opportunity to see the possibilities of what I could be doing for the rest of my life,” said Courtney Harris ’10 of Mount Vernon, Ohio. “My internships have helped me to know that I am making the right choices for my future because I have loved every moment – even the 12 hour shifts in the ER.”

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