Allow me to introduce myself- my name is Kevin, and I am a rising senior studying a dual degree in biopsychology, cognition, & neuroscience (BCN) in LSA, and nursing. This summer I am thrilled to be a student intern at the University Hospital at Michigan Medicine (formerly known as the University of Michigan Health System). Additionally, this is my first internship! During previous summers, I have taken summer courses, or worked in the dining halls, or worked as a nursing assistant at the University Hospital.
Nursing students in four-year programs are eligible for internship work after completion of their third year. Since the third year of nursing school requires extensive hours clinical practice in a variety of settings, many nursing students at this point in their academic career have at least a rough idea as far as which patient population they prefer to work with. My preferred patient population to work with is adults in general medicine and peri-operative settings. Nurses call this “med-surg” (pronounced “surge” as in “surgical”). However, my long term career goals largely involve research and data collection/analysis. Clinical practice is the cornerstone of nursing, and I will absolutely benefit from immersing myself in a clinical practice setting.
I am assigned to work on an adult med-surg unit that specializes in treating adult patients recovering from otolaryngological surgeries. This is highly unfamiliar territory for me, as I have spent most of my time in school on telemetry (heart monitoring) units. My greatest concern with this can be summed up in one word: trachs. Most of the patients on units like this one have newly places tracheostomies. Consequently, many of them are unable to verbally communicate. I have had a few patients like this before on other units, and figuring out what they want when they hit their call light is like playing a game of charades. I’m not good at charades. My interpretive skills are improving, but at least once a day I end up recruiting another interpreter.
During my internship, I work with one nursing preceptor. Some students interns have multiple preceptors, but I am working with the same nurse for the entirety of the internship. She and I work very well together, and she is a fantastic teacher.
Essentially I perform all of the roles of a nurse with a full patient load, including preparing medications, assessing my patients, documenting findings and interventions, and educating my patients. Since I do not have a license to practice, I cannot physically administer medications. I work day shifts (7am-7:30pm), but the days of the week I work vary. Recently, I have been working during the weekend into the following week, so my work week isn’t necessarily conveniently split up. I look forward to sharing more about my experience!