How do you make a meaningful contribution to your workplace?
When I started this internship, I determined that my goal should be to relieve any burdens that my coworkers might have in their day to day workloads by being an extra set of hands or by doing my job properly and efficiently. 'If I go above and beyond that just means that it makes it easier for them in the long run' I remind myself when pulling one more day of charts or filing a few more pages before I leave for the day. This way not only am I being a worthy investment of their time but I also get to do more and experience everything that I possibly can by putting myself out there to accept more work.
What did you learn about your own work from your internship?
I definitely feel that I have gained new insight into my potential career choice in the form of new curiosity and many more questions than answers. Do I want to shadow/intern at a larger medical practice like a hospital? Perhaps, should I try to stick with smaller practices? These questions have come up as I have reflected on my time at SCINS and I can only hope to be able to figure these questions out through internships and shadowing opportunities. I enjoyed the tight-knit feeling of this small practice but I also want to see if I like the hustle and bustle of something like a hospital or larger clinic. In addition to these location based questions, I have also gained a view into the benefits and challenges of patient care. Some patients can be very kind and funny and their interactions go smoothly, but others can be disgruntled and difficult to work with. I now know more about this demographic of older patients but it would be interesting to work with perhaps a younger age group to see how it differs. I also now know that bureaucracy is unavoidable and it can be very irksome but it can also be easily mastered as it is very repetitive.
What new appreciations did you develop while working as an intern?
I gained a new appreciation not only for customer service as a whole but specifically medical service providers and reception work. Socially this internship and new appreciation will constantly remind me to be cheery and respectful to everyone who helps me when I am the patient. There is really very little reason to be rude even if you are in pain or uncomfortable, because providers and employees are just trying to help you get better.
What qualities or characteristics did you see in the people around you that you want to develop in yourself?
I have observed that everyone here is such a master at balancing work with fun. Joking around and enjoying but also knowing when to get to work is a very fascinating concept to me. This ideal brought a whole new meaning to professionalism because as a high school student, professionalism is very much "be extremely formal and (for lack of a better word) uptight at all times" but for most jobs, once you really get into the role it is more about working together. This collaboration often means becoming friends with co workers and letting off steam but also getting down to work when it's crunch time. I will definitely take this with me wherever I go by being professional and respectful but also adding mixing in my own personality and energy once I have warmed up to everyone. Clearly in the span of a month or so I have been able to become part of their little family and they trust and respect me enough to be a bit more relaxed with their professionalism.
I commented on Cheyenne and Nia's posts.
In a very detail-oriented and patient focused internship like mine, I have to make sure that I am standing up for myself and advocating for myself. If I have a question, it is often imperative that I ask it in order to file something correctly or follow the correct procedure. I had a lot of issues with a procedure called a pump refill (refilling the medication in a machine that delivers medicine directly to the spine) because it was something that had to have a sterile field and a lot of different instruments and components placed on that field. By asking Rhonda how to do it, however, she showed me and then I was able to try it myself. Now I am getting really good at it and it becomes second nature.
One example of not standing up for myself resulted in a difficult and potentially dangerous situation. I agreed to helping an older patient into a wheelchair from the car and I didn't have proper leverage nor was I prepared to lift a person and so it wasn't a very smooth transition and I could have hurt the patient or I could have gotten hurt. I need to be more open to doing many jobs, but I also need to learn to say no if they ask me to do something that I am not comfortable with or properly trained to do.
Regardless, I try to help with everything that I can, not only because it helps them but also because I get valuable experience and practice with cool and important tasks.
For my internship project I will be helping to update and refurbish the website for SCINS by working with Nikole Edwards of Social Savvy Marketing and the doctors at our practice. I have researched animated patient education videos that we can use on the site or in promotional videos including Dr. Stern and Dr. Berman. These videos show a simple animated 3D summary of a procedure. They are intended to educate the patient but not scare them away with any blood and guts of a real surgery video. In addition to that research, I have also filmed portions of what will be doctor interview videos where either Dr. Stern or Dr. Berman talk about certain aspects of the practice whether it be surgeries that they would like to highlight (motion preserving spine surgery), methods that are unique (such as robotic, minimally invasive surgery), patient centered care, and more. I also have the role of filming patient pre-ops in order to add to the examples of patient focused care and the interactions between patient and doctor. To do this, I have to have the patients agree to the video and photo release forms once I explain why we would need this footage. This can be a bit tricky because their appointments can be so private but ideally we can remove parts that are too intrusive. On the back burner for me is looking at updating our patient pamphlet to include the most current procedures that SCINS offers as well as updating the doctors on the pamphlet as some of them have left the practice and we have gained others.
I have noticed that I definitely have to be a good communicator as I am essentially a middleman between the office and the marketing company. I find myself referring back to the forms of rhetoric as I plan the marketing that this practice wants to do. There is certainly a lot of ethos and pathos that goes into it but also a lot of logos by incorporating the research aspect of it all. I also have to use some of my deeply burried knowledge of media arts when filming the patients or the doctors. I have to make sure to find good angles and make sure that the video is clear.
I will definitely need support from Nikole when I ask her what her company needs from us in addition to just checking in with her to make sure that we are on schedule to update the site and get everything uploaded.
Group work, group work, group work. I am so glad to see that the skills of collaboration and communication are exactly what I need to successfully be efficient and on the right track. It is good to know that these skills are effective in the real world instead of just being something that we learn in school.
Commuting is an interesting journey to say the least. I have tried different routes and there is no exactly direct route to my internship. I still manage to get to work early. On the way back, I have a direct route to my Palomar class which is nice because I can get there early and get situated with my work for class. It feels so cool to be able to commute to a job as if I were actually in the real world (getting dressed all professionally in the morning, driving to work, checking in, etc.). The drive really calms me because I am often nervous in the morning so that time to just clear my mind is really useful.
Q: What led you to this particular field (healthcare)
A: aptitude tests came back very heavily in healthcare. Tried nursing but didn't have a good experience in nursing school. Tried to pursue healthcare administration and got her bachelor's in medical office management. Worked her way up from Medical Assistant to running the office to current position as manager of the office.
Q: Why SCINS specifically? (what drew you to this particular location?)
A: Started with Children's Hospital -- A non-profit -- and planned to go all the way to retirement with them but they cut out a lot of the middle management and she was laid off. She searched for jobs on the job market and she tried a primary care office but it wasn't fulfilling as a career or financially so she decided to apply for specialty offices and worked for a neurology office for about 6 years. Then she decided to change fields completely and go into cosmetic medicine working for doctors who did Botox (at the time was a new and upcoming field) but right before she was supposed to start, the office changed their minds so she was out of a job and lost her old job because she quit it. "things happen and you just move on" so back to the job market, and she found SCINS and 12 years later she's still loving it here.
Q: How has it been to grow with SCINS?
A: There has been ups and downs over the years (natural course of smaller practices, "lose a doctor here and gain a doctor or PA"). Dr. Stern wanted a big practice and Rhonda thoroughly enjoyed his work ethic and drive. Not many doctors want to run the practice as well as doing their medical role, but Dr. Stern wanted to do all of it because it was important to him. Very genuine relationship with the doctor that you can't always find at other practices or work situation in general.
Q: Is there any advice that you can give to someone like me who know's he/she wants to go into the medical field but doesn't know how to narrow it down?
A: It is really about where you can find the people that you like to work with (people that you click with or that share your passions), and it is okay to jump around in the field to find that place. Dr. Stern wanted to be a cardiologist but once he was in it, he realized that brain surgery was much more interesting to him. Different areas of the country or world have different needs so you also have to take that into consideration (where will you be needed?), but also just personal comfort. Do you want to be in a group or on your own? "you just have to make a list of pros and cons." from there you can decide "okay I want to shadow there to see if it's for me" to see why that's the one you want for sure. Generally healthcare is pretty stable but life just throws obstacles at you and you have to just be able to adjust. It's about the journey and the destination.
Q: How can I find places that are actually willing to take on interns or students? (especially in healthcare)
A: Word of mouth first of all. Doctors know other doctors and they know which ones work well with kids and which ones don't. (first step is to get the foot in the door somewhere) getting references for different specialties and easing into one from another.
Q: When looking at shadowing should I look at smaller or larger groups?
A: Larger groups CAN have interns but it all boils down to the individual physician and whether or not they want to take the time to take on an intern. Older doctors often tend to take on internships compared to younger physicians because younger physicians are too fast paced trying to get themselves oriented.
My workplace is impressively busy for its size. Either there is a lot of patients coming in, or calls and scheduling constantly happening. There is always something to do even if you think there isn't.
Everyone here is so kind but when it gets down to a busy time, everyone shifts into work mode. It is an extremely good motivator to stay focused but not too uptight. They all have taken me under their wing by teaching me new things and being caring towards me. I feel comfortable asking them anything that I have questions about. They also trust me to help them with the work that they are doing.
I am amazed that they have me doing patient vitals and a lot of interaction with patients, I only have the experience of the training that they gave me. To me it seems like a pretty important task but they trust me to do it well.
I am very excited to get into the routine and keep getting better at all the tasks that I do as they become commonplace. I feel that I get more tasks each day so I just need to stay on top of it all and learn from any mistakes.
I am nervous that I will mess up with a patient's vitals or with some other job but I just need to think on my feet and correct my mistake if it ever happens.
First impressions of the Southern California Institute of Neurological Surgery (creative writing form):
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Escondido, a small building, that could easily just be mistaken for another house on the block, stands inconspicuous and modest. A small fountain at the center of a very Spanish-style courtyard provides a warm environment that evokes feelings of going to Grandma's house on the weekend. Inside, you enter a space that is far from what you picture when you think of a Neurosurgery clinic, and yet, it is the perfect setting to give patients a calmed sense of being and a kind welcome.
Today was a fairly busy day for SCINS so it was beneficial to me as I could jump right into training for my duties. The amount of appointments fluctuates, however, as some days are more busy than others. In addition to day to day traffic, the amounts of patients can come in waves, often peaking in a few minutes of hectic accommodation and then leveling out into moments that can be used to regroup and get organized. It is not a very big site so some patients have to wait for a room to open up but in my case it is still good form to take the vitals of some patients as they wait so that they can be prepared to go directly into their room.
Who will I interact with:
I will interact with patients when I take their vitals, then I will interact with the other coordinators in the front office as well as the scribes to update the doctor on a patient's status (occasionally I will interact with the doctors directly if a scribe is busy or gone).
Interpretation of general work policies:
The office is fairly autonomous but it is important that I get to work early so that I can go over the appointment list for the day as well as filing paperwork that hasn't yet been filed.
My dress code will be either scrubs or business casual. It might be in my best interest to get scrubs as that might be a bit more comfortable and many of the other employees wear scrubs.
This office is definitely a fantastic place to collaborate with peers and maintain a professional demeanor with patients. Having a fantastic opportunity to experience patient care and the inner workings of healthcare, is something that I will take very seriously. There is definitely going to be a balance between professionalism and fun as everyone is very welcoming and we will all be there for each other.
High school skills applied:
I will definitely be able to use my skills of communication to interact with the patients in a friendly and respectful manner. I have found that collaboration and communication with everyone employed there is also very important. I might have a question and I need to speak up, but I will also have to make others aware of information that could be time sensitive. Taking initiative and problem solving is something that I should do with deliberate and educated caution but it will also be a vital aspect to my provision of care.