Has the internship stimulated your interest in the field?
My placement was in a non-profit family medicine clinic in Mesa catering to underserved populations, which is exactly the type of place I wanted to intern at. Once this internship is completed, I will have accumulated over 200 volunteer hours with this clinic, and I wish I would have been able to give more! This internship has solidified my interest in family medicine and serving rural and under-served populations, and I see that although there is an increasing number of family physicians serving rural and under-served communities, there will always be a need for more physicians in these areas. I hope to become one of them to help bridge the health disparities in both Maricopa county and across the United States.
What key skills do you feel you have developed and gained from the internship? What have you learned from participating in the program?
I personally feel like I have learned so much about family medicine and clinical work, which is why it is so important to have this shadowing and clinical experience. The medical assistant and the doctor showed me how to do everything from restocking inventory and processing patient records, to properly reading a urinalysis and prepping equipment for an IUD insertion. Although the exam room tasks were very exciting to participate in, the back-office tasks were also exciting and taught me how important it is to consistently update patient records and process paperwork immediately. I also learned how to use interpersonal skills with a whole range of patients, and personalize the care given depending on the specific needs of the patient. Speaking Spanish also helped me with this clinic, as it allowed me to connect with the patients on a more intimate level since many chief complaints can be lost in translation. It was always rewarding to be recognized by returning patients and continue the conversations we were having from where we left off last time they had come in!
What suggestions would you give to students who want to participate in PHIP?
This internship will help show you the bread and butter of medicine, from the exciting parts that the media usually shows, as well as the behind-the-scenes duties that happen once the doctor leaves the exam room that are not discussed as often, but are equally as important . I am thankful that the physician was able to train me on many different aspects of clinic duty, but you get out of this internship what you put in. You must show enthusiasm for all tasks assigned to you because no task is insignificant, every assignment performed in the clinic is a new learning experience. You must take initiative and acknowledge what needs to be done in the clinic and do so before being asked, as long as you have proper training in the task. If you do not, ask to be trained and I’m sure they will be more than happy to train you. Remember to be grateful that your assigned internship location was willing to bring on a student into their busy clinic, and although you are there to learn, you are also there to make the lives of who work in the clinic a little easier. Finally, remember to have fun and enjoy your time spent there! It is such a fun time to interact with the patients, physicians, and other medical staff, as well as watch yourself develop familiarity with procedures! I am forever thankful that I was able to receive this opportunity, and it will always be a memorable experience!
What are your plans for career development and/or your education after your internship?
After the internship, I hope to get accepted into either medical school or graduate school. This internship has helped strengthen my passion for helping underserved populations and I would like to continue to dedicate my life to helping those in need through medicine and public health.