In healthcare, practical work experience can be as important as an education. An internship helps students put what they’ve learned into practice, allowing them to connect with people and incidents that might be critical to career success.
Students should begin their internship journey by discussing their goals with a healthcare faculty advisor or trusted professor. The goal of this discussion is to discover what kinds of internships will provide experience that most closely aligns with the student’s career goals and learning objectives.
While it’s possible to search for a healthcare internship online, it’s a good idea for students to reach out first to their college’s career services center. New England College helps students investigate and apply for internship opportunities through its Career and Life Planning (CLP) office; it has contacts that may lead to internship opportunities, and can help students complete and submit the paperwork required to receive course credit for their work.
Healthcare students will find a variety of internship opportunities such as:
- Physical therapy
- Senior care
- Pediatric care
- Fitness and rehabilitation training
- Mobile health technology
- Mental health
Applying for an Internship
Before applying for an internship, students should prepare an up-to-date resume and cover letter. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of templates, but it’s probably best to use these documents as guidelines and write something unique. Students should emphasize their education credentials and personal skills.
The cover letter should outline strengths and goals. It should also demonstrate an understanding of what an internship entails — a form letter simply won’t suffice!
With objectives in mind and a resume in hand, it is time for students to reach out to companies. CLP will usually have the most recent contact information for the internship coordinator at each company. Follow up as appropriate.
Participating in an Internship
An internship is a professional obligation, and it should be treated as such. This means showing up on time, dressing appropriately and showing an interest in learning. Students should expect to demonstrate the same behavior as any other employee.
Failing to live up to expectations might prevent the student from earning college credit for the internship. It can also damage a school’s reputation, and make it more difficult for a college to place future internships at that company.
Most students will be expected to write papers or do presentations at the end of their internships to receive course credit. The goal is for the student to demonstrate what he or she learned from the experience.
Internships are hard work, but they provide invaluable benefits to those who pursue them. The advantages include the ability to watch and learn from professionals, networking opportunities, increased confidence in healthcare abilities, and experience to add to a resume.