In the summer of 2018, Julia Stern completed an internship at Kent County Hospital in Warwick, RI. Before she began her service at Kent County Hospital, Julia had to fill out volunteer forms. The senior found this internship through family and friends. She worked with the Behavioral Health team and dealt with patients that came into the emergency room for psychological evaluation. “I went with either Nurse Practitioners, Psychiatrics, or Social Workers and I observed their work. Then, I performed a risk evaluation and a delirium evaluation” explains Julia. After the first appointment, there were follow-ups and medication prescriptions for them. Also, depending on the reason for being in the hospital, the patients were sent to specific programs. The senior filled out paperwork and listened to dictations as well. Her favorite part was meeting the patients and interacting with them. It gave her an insight into the complexity of mental health. “It was fascinating to see how specific mental illnesses were presented. For a couple of them that we worked with were dealing with depression, and it was nice to be there for them and comfort them” adds the senior. The most challenging part of the experience was developing personal relationships with the patients because they were constantly in and out of the hospital.
Interpersonal skills, professionalism, controlling emotions, knowledge of medical jargon, writing, and podcasting were the skills that she utilized at Kent County Hospital. Julia feels that this experience provided her with new skills such as professionalism and controlling emotions. The senior improved her note taking, podcasting, and interpersonal skills after her internship. She believes that these skills will help her in the future. “Professionalism will be helpful in any career that I choose to go into. Since I’ve only ever been in school, understanding the difference between a student and a working professional will be helpful as well” says Julia.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
The senior’s preceptor, Cynthia made a difference in her internship experience. Cynthia was very compassionate with all of her patients, she listened to them, and she was personable. “She told me about her past experiences to give me more information about my research. Furthermore, she has been in the field for a long time, so she has a lot of knowledge about mental health. I developed a close relationship with Cynthia, and I would consider asking her to write me a recommendation for future opportunities,” states the senior.
Julia says that if she decides to go to medical school, then this internship has prepared her for this next step in her career. No matter what the senior decides to do whether it’s English, Creative Writing, or medically related, the things Julia learned from this internship will be applicable. This experience changed her personally since she didn’t understand how different mental illnesses could affect a person. Observing these mental illnesses made her feel more compassionate towards people struggling with addiction. Overall, the senior learned that the Psychology team cares about patient outcomes and tries to do the best they can to make sure the patient is okay after leaving the hospital. Julia is not sure yet about what she will be doing after Ursinus, however she is interested in doing a graduate program for Creative Writing or something in medicine.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest parts of the experience were doing the delirium evaluations where patients would draw clocks or images and seeing the way patients reacted to those evaluations.
Julia advises to not be afraid in choosing an internship that is outside of your major. Although it may be challenging at first, but it is rewarding overall.
Written by Faraha Rathod, ’19