When I first started my summer internship at Northwell Health in the Healthcare Management Program, I thought I had a sound idea of what I wanted to do in my career. Being a science major, it made perfect sense to want to pursue healthcare from a clinical standpoint. I had no idea of what an administrative job in health care could offer. I figured – why not go against the grain a bit? Why not see what else is out there?
So I spent eight weeks with a little yellow notepad and a ballpoint pen, trying to absorb every aspect of health care management I would encounter. From finance to operations to data analytics, my learning curve was intense. My projects were new and overwhelming. And unfortunately for me, my pure science course load in undergrad proved to be absolutely zero help.
Every day in the office was different, and the variety of projects that I had was a true testament to that. To name only a couple, I was tasked to give suggestions of improvements to an oncology lab based on my observations, as well as to create an internal employee survey measuring employee satisfaction and engagement. I was working with real-time data, and important information that was of great use to my preceptors. It was a bit intimidating, determining the best way to utilize it all.
What motivated me, though, was the trust my preceptors had in me to get the job done, despite me being an intern with so much to learn. Throughout each of my projects, I was expected to know exactly what was expected of me, but to also know what my limits were and when to ask for help. I was called on to report back the results I found, making me feel like an integral part of the discussions that took place in that second-floor conference room. And most importantly, I was held accountable for ensuring that my output was my absolute best effort. Each day brought a different challenge, but I had the guidance and the support I needed to meet each one.
So while I came into my internship not really knowing what to expect, I can happily say that this summer turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I not only learned a lot about Northwell, and their commitment to their patients and employees, but I also learned a lot about myself, and about what my capabilities are. This summer I had the great opportunity to be a part of a team, a team that needed me just as much as I needed them.
For those of you wondering where I stand in terms of my career plans now, the administrative side of healthcare has definitely caught my eye. The hustle and bustle that occurs behind the scenes, and not on a care facility’s main floors is an experience like no other. But overall, I have come to learn that there is definitely a career for me in healthcare, regardless of what path I will ultimately decide to take.