Michael Rudy hesitated.
“Do I really have to do this?” he asked.
Seeing the look on his supervisor’s face he realized he didn’t have much of a choice. Rudy cast one more pleading glance before he reached for a urine filled container. Then he performed the drug screen test.
That was a year ago.
Rudy chuckled as he recalled his initial reaction.
“Once you do it a couple times, it’s okay,” he said.
Rudy, 22, found it was a small price to pay for the coveted internship spot he landed at St. Joseph Hospital. Of nearly 40 applicants, only 10 are chosen each summer.
The 12-week long internship offers college credit and pays $10 an hour. Interns must be residents of Howard County or the surrounding area and currently pursuing a degree in a health-care field. Interns work a total of 400 hours between May and August.
Rudy, a psychology student at Purdue, earned an internship in the Behavioral Services Department of the hospital the past two years. As an intern, Rudy has observed adult and adolescent therapy sessions focusing on depression and chemical dependency, dealt with insurance agencies, given lectures, reviewed charts and filed paperwork.
“It’s obviously a great experience that most undergraduates don’t even get,” Rudy said.
“This is a great tool for us to expose students to a future career within the hospital,” said Marla Achor, the hospital marketing and communications coordinator. “It gives them the opportunity to see what this career entails before they actually get in the real world profession.”
This is the second year for the summer internship program, Achor said. “It’s a win-win situation, not only for students but for St. Joseph Hospital as well.”
Howard Regional Health System also offers several internships for students, specifically clinicals. Most are unpaid, said Barbara Tucker, professional development education coordinator.
“We provide better education for those students who want to go there and we have a close relationship with the schools,” Tucker said.
Achor said the interns offer additional help in the summer as well as providing associates with the opportunity to mentor.
“Hopefully after they do graduate, they’d want to come apply for a position at the hospital,” she added.
Already, they’ve hired one intern from their speech pathology program last year. Given the responses they’ve received from other interns, it’s likely they’ll hire more in the future.
Jessica Beko is one of the interns who may return when she’s finished with school.
When Beko started her internship in rehabilitative services, she’d never really seen a stroke patient or many people with brain trauma.
Specializing in speech pathology, the Indiana University student mostly observed and worked alongside Jane Toor as they worked with a variety of patients.
Beko said the most difficult part of her job is seeing the frustration the patients feel when they can’t communicate.
“You can tell they want to say something,” she said. “You use gestures (to communicate).”
Although she mostly observes, Beko said she has learned a great deal and has been able to genuinely work with the patients.
“In school, you learn the terms, but here you get to see patients and have a reference,” she said.
Now as the summer program comes to a close, Rudy, Beko and their fellow interns prepare for their final years of college before heading to their prospective careers or graduate school.
Mainly Rudy and Beko feel rewarded by the experiences they received on the job.
If Rudy could give any advice to fellow college students and interns it is: “Don’t be afraid to jump in and put yourself outside your comfort zone. It’s the only way you learn anything around here.”
To apply for an internship at St. Joseph Hospital, contact Cindy Babb, executive director, Human Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (765) 456-5699. To apply at Howard Regional, call Tucker at 864-5727.
Michael Rudy hesitated.
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