In many industries, internships can play an important role in pursuing a career. However, when it comes to healthcare roles, many people don’t associate internships with the process of pursuing a career in the field.
Believe it or not, internships can actually play a key role in becoming qualified for many healthcare roles. Understanding the aim of these internships and the role they play can give one a more nuanced understanding of what it looks like to step into a healthcare-related role.
Here are a few roles internships play in the healthcare field.
What Are Healthcare Internships?
Healthcare internships play a special role in the process of pursuing a career in healthcare. Typically, they give individuals who are studying to step into a healthcare role or individuals who have recently graduated an opportunity to work alongside professionals in a healthcare setting.
Oftentimes, interns will shadow those working in the roles they’re pursuing, giving them a deeper understanding of the role’s day-to-day duties and tasks. Some common healthcare intern roles include nursing internships and medical internships in which students are prepared for roles as nurses and doctors.
What Role Do Healthcare Internships Play?
Healthcare internships play several important roles in the development of healthcare professionals. One significant role is allowing future professionals the chance to hone their skills in a real working environment before stepping into a professional role. This allows individuals stepping into healthcare roles a chance to develop professionally before experiencing the pressure of actually working in the role. Given the growth that can come from working in real healthcare settings, many view healthcare internships in the field as a better learning environment than classrooms for healthcare students.
In addition to being a space in which individuals can hone their skills prior to becoming a healthcare professional, internships in the space also allow individuals to explore various specialties.
For example, a nursing student may be interested in pursuing a career as an operating room nurse. To see what the career would be like, this student may take an internship that allows them to spend time shadowing an OR nurse. Whether the student ends up liking the specialty or not, this experience can help inform their decision of which type of specialty they choose to pursue.
Internships can also be key in the development of healthcare professionals because of the fact that they connect interns with trained professionals who can act as mentors. This relationship can be profoundly beneficial to interns due to the fact that it allows them to ask questions and learn more about what it’s really like working in various healthcare career positions.
Are Healthcare Internships Necessary?
While the answer can change depending on which specific career role one is pursuing, many professional healthcare roles do require individuals to do some sort of internship-like training prior to stepping into the role. However, the process of healthcare internships can look different than those in some other industries.
For most healthcare roles, such as nurse, physician, and healthcare manager, internships are a part of the educational process. For example, to truly understand various nursing theories that involve patient interactions, students must be trained in the field.
Given the importance of being able to work in a stressful and fast-paced environment, healthcare programs must incorporate in-the-field training to ensure that students have the necessary skills to step into the healthcare role they are pursuing.
Common Healthcare Internships
In healthcare, there are several types of internships that are the most common. In these, interns are able to develop a greater understanding of the healthcare roles they’re pursuing. Here are some common healthcare internships and what they involve.
Nursing internships help nurses explore the broad field of nursing and the various specialties it has to offer. In addition, nurse interns are able to shadow experienced nurses as they go to perform everyday tasks and duties.
These internships typically last for around ten weeks but some can go for much longer depending on the specific program. Some common duties that nurse interns perform during internships include taking patient vitals and administering medication.
By the end of a nursing internship, nurse interns should have a deeper understanding of what it’s like to work in the role. Furthermore, they should have a better idea of which type of specialty they want to pursue as a healthcare professional.
Medical internships are programs for medical students to gain experience in the field before stepping into their roles as physicians. Typically, it’s required for medical students to engage in a year-long internship after graduating from medical school.
During these internships, recent graduates have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in their academic careers. However, they are closely monitored by physicians to ensure that they aren’t inadvertently harming patients in any way.
Some common duties of medical interns include conducting some basic procedures as well as interacting with patients and those accompanying them. In addition to gaining medical procedure experience, these internships also present a key opportunity for interns to develop their interpersonal and communication skills, which are extremely important for physicians to have.
Pharmacy internships are programs that allow pharmacy students to gain experience working and performing basic duties in pharmacies. These interns work under the supervision of experienced pharmacists and learn about the process of stepping into the career.
Some typical duties that pharmacy interns have include filling prescriptions and sometimes helping to organize and stock facilities. By engaging in these experiences, pharmacy interns are able to grow their skills and prepare themselves for a professional role.
The main aim of pharmacy internships is learning how to perform essential pharmacist duties thoroughly and accurately. As such, this can be a key part of the educational process for individuals training to become pharmacists.
Internships Play a Critical Role in Healthcare
Across various healthcare roles, the process of interning plays a crucial role in the development of professionals. By having the opportunity to perform duties and learn from experienced individuals in actual professional settings, interns have the opportunity to evolve their skills and ready themselves for a professional career.
While not every role in healthcare requires individuals to do an internship, many of them do for the beneficial role they can play in one’s professional development. As such, internships can be a key part of becoming an effective professional in healthcare that is able to perform at a high level.