From the Cancer Institute to a tertiary hospital – my internship experience
Written by: Alexa Bernardini, 2016 & 2017 HMP Intern
If it had not been for the Office of Undergraduate Biology at my university, I would have never been exposed to the opportunity to apply for Northwell Health’s Healthcare Management Program (HMP). After visiting the office to discuss career opportunities that would combine my passions for the biological sciences and business, a student advisor raved about her experience working for Northwell Health and mentioned I should look into the HMP program. As a sophomore, it was rare to find an internship opportunity that delved into the world of healthcare administration and enabled me to work with so many different departments throughout the health system.
I started my Northwell Health journey at Monter Cancer Center, where I was able to gather resources to build an internal website for Cancer Institute members across all sites. By leading this project, I interacted with many departments such as finance and operations, cancer research, and academic affairs among many others. One of my favorite parts about this project was being able to meet leaders throughout the facility who graciously welcomed me to the team and were happy to answer all of my questions to further my learning and engagement. Our goal was to develop the Cancer Institute as a unified and prominent entity for cancer treatment, research, and education. The first step to achieving this goal was having a place for all Cancer Institute employees to access to information regarding clinical trials, Continuing Medical Education events, cancer conferences, and community outreach initiatives. When my internship ended, I still followed up regarding the progress of my project, and loved knowing that I added value throughout my time at Monter Cancer Center.
Upon reaching my junior year of college, I was able to apply what I had learned at Northwell Health to my courses and campus organizations. As I reflected on what I had learned during my internship, I knew I wanted to return to Northwell Health the next summer at a different site to absorb even more information from a different perspective. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to once again join the HMP program, where I am currently spending my summer in the hospital operations department of Long Island Jewish Medical Center. I have learned that I enjoy working in both atmospheres, LIJ as a large tertiary hospital and Monter Cancer Center as a smaller, outpatient cancer treatment facility. Something I love about the HMP program is that there are so many different sites throughout the health system that participate in the program, and I can hear about other interns’ experiences who are placed at different locations. While at LIJ Medical Center, our team has been collaborating with the team at North Shore University Hospital to work on a hypothetical business case regarding the Pre-Surgical Testing (PST) care model. Our goal was to design an off-site location that combined two of the region’s existing centers. This theoretical project has been a great learning experience to identify what goals a project of this size would want to accomplish, such as the desire to maximize operational efficiencies, standardize procedures, and ultimately create a more positive patient experience. We took the time to plan, shadow their processes on-site, and combine the best practices of both PST locations to create a care model that features an ideal blueprint of the new space, taking into account estimated patient volume and length of stay.
After spending two consecutive summers as part of the Northwell team, I have learned that working in healthcare administration across sites has the common theme of integrating departments and unifying their workflow processes and workplace culture.
Update: Alexa has been offered and accepted a full-time position once she graduates from Cornell University in May.
Submit your resume to become a Summer Associate in the 2018 Healthcare Management Program Internship.