I have officially spent five weeks interning at Women’s Center for Wellness, which means I’m a little over halfway done! It’s amazing to think how quickly my time here has flown by. I have had so many interesting learning experiences during my short time here. I’ve observed a stereotactic biopsy, a breast ultrasound, mammograms, and worked closely with our resident nurse practitioner, who provides preventative care for under-insured or uninsured women in the Connecticut area. I love meeting new patients and knowing that I am helping in whatever way I can to ensure they maintain or improve their health. When I submitted my WOW application, I had one reasonable but very important goal to attain during my internship: I wanted to learn how to confidently interact with patients, which is a skill that is vastly underrated by many healthcare providers. No matter how skilled a healthcare provider is, a patient will never be satisfied if they feel that they weren’t treated well. So for the past five weeks, I have worked hard to learn how to interact with patients in a way that is professional and informative, yet also comforting and personal. I feel that this is a skill that will help me throughout my career, and I think I’ve made a lot of progress on this goal. At the beginning of my internship, I was quite shy, but now I am confidently working with patients. Although it is not entirely scientific, I can usually gauge my growth in this area by how easily I can accomplish certain tasks, such as accommodating a patient with special needs. At this point, working with patients has become almost second nature to me!
I am also learning a lot about the field I am in (specifically breast health and imaging) and the way my organization operates. I think one of the most telling signs that I am becoming a valuable part of the organization is when I am able to help a radiology technician figure out what happened with a particular patient or how a case was resolved. I am proud of this because it shows me that I can integrate all the things I’ve learned here in a way that helps both the patient and the technicians, rather than only understanding bits and pieces of what goes on around me. It’s very exciting to know that I am learning more and more as I gradually become immersed in the organization.
I hope that my increased awareness of the biology behind breast cancer will help me in my academic career where it pertains to hard science. Seeing cancer firsthand is much different than reading about it in textbooks, because I get to see all the other ways it can affect an individual. I am also lucky to have a firsthand perspective of the American health care system and how it can affect an organization such as Women’s Center for Wellness. I feel that I am supplementing what I learned in my HSSP courses with real-life experience. I am also slowly gaining the skills to be a successful health care provider by learning how to interact with patients and seeing how various procedures are performed. Now, I can only hope that my remaining few weeks with Women’s Center for Wellness will be just as educational as the first five!