A wide variety of speakers have visited The Center for Ethics and Advocacy in Healthcare because they want to educate the next generation of young people, specifically about what is going on in our healthcare system. All of the speakers deeply respect the Director of my internship, along with the internship’s mission, for they present usually every year and never ask for compensation. This speaks to the quality of the internship program I am in.
One day, a school nurse came and talked with us about healthcare in the elementary school she worked at. I learned that 1 out of 3 students in her school visited her – in one year. Calling parents, filling out paperwork and nurturing 33% of her school’s population is quite a demand. I learned that widespread sickness endures because not enough is being done to help prevent diseases from spreading. Childhood obesity and bullying are on the rise, and the disparity in wealth in her town is obvious.
From speaking with a Nursing Home Administrator, I learned that nursing homes around the country are suffering badly. The recent cuts in healthcare are the main culprit, along with the lack of resources coming from the government. It’s also hard for many nursing home residents to pay the monthly fee nowadays, which make nursing homes hard to afford for them. Meanwhile, in today’s culture, fewer and fewer people want to live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities because they prefer to stay at home or move in with family. This is becoming the trend around the country.
I learned from a community activist that the poor are the ones who are suffering the most when it comes to healthcare cuts, and they suggest what we should be doing is coming together as a community and pitching in to help those in need. Volunteering at local clinics, donating food and clothing to the local shelters and planting trees and flowers around neighborhoods are all things community members should think about doing.
Those were just three experiences I’ve had at my internship. There are many more I could talk about but I think this gives you a good idea of what I’ve been learning about. Healthcare is becoming more and more a community issue.
We’ve also met with Quentin Young of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, the Director of The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation – a woman who wants to incorporate religious and spiritual habits into hospitals, a biology professor who teaches her students about natural medicine and the process of harvesting plants and transforming them into synthetic medicines, and a couple of other directors from other local non profit agencies who also want to work on a grass roots level to help their communities be healthy and stay healthy. It’s been a wonderful experience getting to listen to all of these intelligent, passionate and highly respected people – who all hail from the Chicago area.
Here’s a link to an article from Time Magazine about selling one’s bone marrow. It’s something we talked about in one of our in-services. Read more to learn more.
This is a link to a very helpful video which breaks down what you should expect from the newly upheld Affordable Care Act.
How am I progressing on my goals I outlined in my WOW Scholarship Application?
Academically: I have without a doubt learned immense amounts about bioethical issues and how to talk about them with other people. This experience has given me insights I never would have gained otherwise. Through talking with the Director about how she goes about resolving tough medical problems with patients (a word she hates because it implies a power hierarchy) I have learned how she deals with the issues and how she helps people overcome their own problems. In addition, I now have a better idea as to how to help others when they are conflicted.
Professionally: I have also been exposed to a nonprofit work environment which fights for social justice in and around its community. With this experience under my belt, I will be a better candidate for a nonprofit administrator position, if I choose to pursue that path in the future.
Personally: This internship has taught me that I need to identify what my true, honest values are. From this internship, I’ve learned that values shape our opinions. Once I realize my values, I will be able to take the next step and gain insight into possible career paths.
Of what am I most proud? Why?
I am proud of myself for delving in and learning about the Healthcare scene, on both the local and national levels – because now that I have so much more knowledge about healthcare in today’s world, I am now responsible for keeping up with the issues and standing my ground. Having this knowledge now puts pressure on me to act and fight for what I believe is right.
How am I building skills in this internship?
This internship has in practice made me a better listener and analyst of information. At all times, I have to be able to listen to whomever is speaking (the other interns, the director, a speaker), synthesize what they’re saying, and transform this information into knowledge. My listening and analyzing skills are enhancing because those are the skills I’m utilizing everyday.
I’m also learning how to function in a nonprofit setting – how to communicate professionally, work independently, ask questions, etc. People operate differently in different environments, and now that I’ve had experience working at a nonprofit, I know how this nonprofit operates day to day.
All of these skills will help me in the future, for I will be a better candidate if I choose to apply to jobs in the nonprofit sector, but also, I will be a better candidate for any job having had ample experience listening and analyzing information. Having had the chance to improve my listening and analyzing skills, I will be a better thinker, reader and speaker after this experience.
– Emily Breitbart ’13