Summer health care internships prove valuable



Summer health care interns - Front row from left: Candace M. Lowry, Jennifer R. Jackson, Suzette R. Bullard and Charlotte L. Johnson. Back row from left: Jeremy Demery, Ashley D. Locklear, Candace L. Sampson, Deidra S. Dial and Clifton D. Dial

"My eyes are open," said UNC Pembroke student Jeremy Demery.

Demery and eight students performed six-week internships with area hospitals and clinics this summer through the UNCP North Carolina Health Careers Access Program. It is called the Clinical Health Summer Program.

An aspiring physician, Demery said he learned everything from telephone answering to the importance of good patient communications at the Lumberton Health Center.

"You need to make patients feel comfortable, because sometimes they won't tell you what you need to know to help them," he said.

The sophomore biology major said he worked hard and learned a lot.

"They work you," Demery said. "It's a small clinic, so you learn everything."

What Demery learned in a primary care setting surprised him and will help guide his career.

"The diabetes and hypertension rate is so high in Robeson County, especially among Lumbees," he said. "I learned that I would like to be in emergency medicine or pediatrics."

The program gives students a thorough look at careers in health care that they want to pursue, said Sylvia Johnson, HCAP director.

"The internship program provides a wonderful opportunity for college students to look at a variety of careers in health care and related fields while earning a salary for seven weeks," said Director Sylvia Johnson. "The students get practical experience, exposure to real-life situations, and the opportunity to make valuable contact with health care professionals by which mentor relationships could form."

Deidra Dial. A sophomore biology and chemistry major from Pembroke, Dial interned at Pembroke Pediatrics. She also wants to go to medical school.

Like Demery, Dial worked in all areas of the clinic including the front desk, medical records, nurse's station and, finally, job shadowing the physician's assistant.

"The PA took me under his wing," Dial said. "He let me observe everything that was going on and discussed patient diagnosis and treatment with me."

"Finally, I got to go in with patients by myself, and after I presented what I found to the PA, he would go in and see the patient," she said. "He was always teaching, even during down times."
Suzette Bullard. A sophomore biology major (biomedical emphasis) from Maxton, Bullard wants to be a physician's assistant. She interned at Robeson Family Practice in Red Springs.

"I would most likely come back to a clinic like that one in Robeson County," Bullard said. "I like the way it was set up, and the work is interesting."

Charlotte Johnson. A senior psychology major (at UNC-Chapel Hill) and Pembroke native, Johnson wants to be a pharmacist. She did her internship in the pharmacy at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton.

"It was an opportunity to gain exposure to the hospital pharmacy setting, and I liked it," Johnson said. "I would recommend this program, or at least job shadowing, for anyone who believes they want to go into the health care field."

Jennifer Jackson. A senior biology and chemistry major from Lumberton, Jackson interned in the radiology department at Southeastern Regional Medical Center. She wants to go to medical school.

"I did not know that radiologists did so many things," Jackson said. "The best part was that I was able to observe as the doctors did the procedures."

"Radiology is the field that sparked my interest, and the internship has strengthened my desire to go into this field," she said.

Candace Sampson. A sophomore biology major from Pembroke, Sampson interned at Pembroke Family Practice. She wants to be a physician's assistant.

"The professional atmosphere that I worked in gave me great insight to the part of the medical field that I want to go into," Sampson said. "We gave a lot of shots to little kids who cried, but they needed their shots."

Ashley Locklear. A sophomore biology and chemistry major from Pembroke, Locklear wants to go to medical school. She interned at the Maxton Medical Clinic.

"I enjoyed talking to patients and learning their concerns," Locklear said. "I like being able to help people."

"I also learned to respect what nurses do," she said. "Nurses are the backbone of patient care. They welcomed me and took time to help me with procedures."

Candace Lowry. A sophomore biology major (biomedical emphasis) from Lumberton, Lowry wants to be a pharmacist. She interned at the pharmacy of Laurinburg's Scotland Memorial Hospital.

"I have worked in retail pharmacy, and a hospital is very different," Lowry said. "I liked it a lot, but I like community pharmacy because you get to interact with people more."

"I made rounds and made IVs, but the most interesting thing was to observe the pharmacists making chemotherapy treatments," she said.

Clifton Dial. A senior biology major from Scotland County, Dial did his internship with the clinical lab at Scotland Memorial Hospital. He wants to be a lab technologist.

"I rotated through hematology, microbiology and chemistry labs and the blood bank," Dial said. "I learned a lot, and it gave me confidence to pursue a clinical lab science program."

The Clinical Health Summer Program is just one example of how the NC-Health Careers Access Program is helping to increase the number of racial/ethnic minority and/or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to be trained for the health professions

For more information about the program contact: Sylvia Johnson, Director, NC-HCAP at 910.521.6493.