Successful health care interns come from across the disciplines
Sierra Butcher is very much enjoying her internship at Lima Memorial Hospital. She is not a biology major. Nor is she in pre-med, nursing or any other major directly related to health care. She is a double major in theatre and English and she is perfect for her role in the marketing and public relations department.
Butcher is a technical writer. Her work appears on the hospital’s internal website and on their social media platforms. She is also helping with the hospital’s annual Journey Gala.
“The skills I have learned in the classroom, combined with my skills as a writing tutor, have helped me to succeed in my writing and editing at the hospital, as well as bring forth new and fresh ideas for them. My more artsy side of English and theatre helps to bring a new twist into all the technical writing and expression I am doing at the hospital.”
Those skills she has been developing during her time at Ohio State Lima are highly transferable to many different careers. Her supervisor at Lima Memorial recognized how useful Butcher could be to the hospital and snatched her up.
“Having the fluent writing skills from English and the malleable verbal skills from theatre sparked the interest of my director after she heard me give a speech at Ohio State Lima’s Spring for Generation One fundraising event,” Butcher said. “Immediately after, she told me she was impressed with my speech and my story, and that me being an English and theatre major only made her more interested in having me as an intern in her marketing department at Lima Memorial.”
Taking the chance to explore marketing in her internship has expanded and clarified Butcher’s career path. She is now considering entering marketing as a technical writer.
Sarah Mackesy, a graduate student in social work, will be at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center as part of her graduate program in social work. She will work on both the cancer center and the acute care floor. Mackesy knows she wants to work in health care so she requested a hospital placement for her graduate work. As an undergraduate, she interned with a hospice agency in Lima.
“I already know I want to be a social worker in health care, but I am trying to narrow down exactly what field of health care I want to pursue,” Mackesy said. “This internship will really solidify if I want to work in a hospital or hospice setting. What you learn from actually doing the work is what validates that you have made the right choice to pursue your career choice.”
Ohio State Lima Career Services Manager Rachel Richardson encourages students from all majors to find a way to intern or gain field experience. While some majors like business and engineering are more hardwired to seeking out internships, Richardson thinks all the programs have something to offer both the student and employer.
“Hospitals are a great example of places to look for internships. They don’t just need doctors and nurses. They need educators, social workers, logistics managers, accountants, computer scientists, you name it,” she said. “Students who can assess their own skills and strengths and figure out how they match with skills needed to perform a job, regardless of the title, will be in high demand.”
Health sciences is an Ohio State Lima major that provides many interns to local healthcare providers. While the internship element is not required, Professor John R. Snyder strongly encourages all his students to seek out an internship opportunity, especially if they have no experience in the healthcare setting.
“Students should leave the internship with a sense of the dynamics of the work environment, the expectation that quality patient care is top priority, that healthcare is a team enterprise requiring the expertise of multiple colleagues, and a sense of ‘fit’ for whether this is the right career choice for them,” Snyder said. “I’ve had students whose interest in a career in health care was affirmed and students who decided this was not for them.”
The clarity of career path is just one of the benefits that Richardson sees when students put the work in as interns. The experience also gives the interns a head start on their first, post-graduation job compared to students who wait to begin asking what they want to do until after graduation.
“Some students end up underemployed when they graduate because they don’t think ahead of time about their career,” Richardson said. “Interning starts the clock earlier and they’re more prepared when they graduate to know what opportunities are out there. They know what they are capable of, they have connections in their field, and they just feel more confident entering the job market when they graduate.”