by Aimee Chang
The Clinical Care Extender Internship gives pre-health students first-hand experience working in a hospital setting to gain insight from health professionals. With the opportunity to work alongside physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals, students are able to interact with patients and administer basic patient care. Students are also able to observe surgical procedures, work in the Emergency Department, and watch babies being delivered.
The Clinical Care Extender Internship is offered at eight different hospitals throughout Southern California, one of which is St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, CA, a 15-minute drive from USC.
Steven Nguyen, Pipeline Manager at St. Francis and a junior at USC, said, “St. Francis Medical Center is a top-tier hospital that focuses on its community’s needs and concerns. Being a Clinical Care Extender at St. Francis allows students to experience the realities of a hospital environment, unlike the image portrayed in frequently-watched TV shows such as House, M.D., Grey’s Anatomy, and Scrubs.”
“Clinical Care Extenders play an essential role in the hospital as patient liaisons who relay information about patients’ concerns to the nurses and other clinical staff members. In their positions, Clinical Care Extenders are able to see if they really want to work in healthcare – and if so, they may explore the different professions in healthcare. In addition, students gain early access to develop skills to communicate with and understand patients so that they may better care for these individuals in the future as health professionals,” said Nguyen.
Besides gaining clinical experience, students are able to attend networking events and events that feature guest speakers and health care panels. In addition, students may become further involved with the program by joining the Leadership Team. “On the Leadership Team, students develop leadership skills, project management skills, and speaking skills. Students also learn to be disciplined, to be organized, and to set and meet deadlines for themselves, which are vital skills not only in the hospital setting, but also in school and in work,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen said, “I encourage all pre-health students to participate in a clinical volunteer program.” All pre-health students should work in the health care environment to see if it is really a fit for them. Although it may seem that a Clinical Care Extender plays only a small role in the hospital setting, Clinical Care Extenders are truly appreciated by the staff members and especially by the patients. Clinical Care Extenders actually play the important role of caring for patients by doing the ‘little things’ that matter.”
If interested, students can obtain more information and apply to the Clinical Care Extender Internship online at http://www.copehealthsolutions.org/clinical-internships/clinical-care-extender. To apply, students must be 18 years or older and be able to commit to one 4-hour shift a week. Upon completion of the 280-hour program, students will receive a letter of recommendation that may be used to apply to their school of choice.