LaPorte High School offers Health Internship for seniors
LaPorte High School provides their students with a chance to intern at Northwest Health in order to immerse them into the healthcare experience.
The Health Internship is offered to seniors who are considering entering the medical field. While the internship is unpaid, students will be able to have hands-on shadowing experience.
“The hospital staff really enjoy working with the students, and the internship gives the students a first-hand experience of what it is like to work in the medical field,” Angie LaRocco, LPHS Health Internship adviser, said.
The hospital includes several interesting rotations for students to observe. In the past, five different rotations, such as ER, Radiology, Nursing, Pediatrics, and Physical Therapy were offered, but due to COVID-19 only Radiology, Nursing, and Pediatrics were allowed.
When applying for this internship, juniors must submit their application by the deadline, which is typically in November of their junior year. When the application is closed, students are then interviewed. Each student who applies must turn in a medical background, a reference, and a documentation, which states that the student understands the expectations.
Once accepted, the students will have their forms submitted to the hospital. From there they will set up a health screening and a Tb test. After those are cleared, they will set up orientation.
Students must be 18 years of age by the semester they would be in the internship and obtain a 3.0 GPA. A total of 10 students will be chosen, five for each semester, and this program takes place between 1st and 3rd period.
“The goal of the internship is to give students an in-person view of what it is like to work in a hospital and medical office, so the students can decide if it is the field for them. Most students who participate really enjoy the experience and go on to pursue medical degrees in some capacity,” LaRocco said.
For many students, this program has truly helped them realize their position for the medical field.
“I had open heart surgery my junior year of high school, so I went to cardiac rehab at the heart and vascular center in LaPorte. So after I had that experience there, I shadowed a nurse there for my shadowing for school, and that was the start of me figuring out what I wanted to do for college. So now I am in the physician assistant program at Valparaiso University. I am graduating a year early, and I am going into graduate school here too in the fall. The plan is to become a pediatric cardiology physician assistant,” former Slicer Emily Osowski said.
Although this program has mostly been a success, it has also helped change majors of past students.
“When I was a senior, I participated in the health internship that partnered with LaPorte Hospital. Going into it, I was dead set on being a nurse. I was very excited to see behind the scenes and experience the day to day tasks firsthand. I had a wonderful few weeks at the hospital and met some amazing people, but through shadowing, I learned that nursing wasn’t for me. For anyone thinking of working in a healthcare field someday, I would 100 percent recommend participating in the program. I was able to save money and time by reaching this decision before starting college and am now pursuing my dream career,” former Slicer Bethany Schuster said.
At the end of each rotation, students are evaluated by their mentor. Students are held accountable for asking their mentor for their evaluation and for turning it into the supervisor. Along with the evaluation, students are required to write weekly journals summarizing what they did that week during their rotation.
Students have several rules to follow while at the hospital. They must arrive on time each day, act and dress professionally. Students are also reminded to be mindful of doctor-patient confidentiality rules and follow the strict health precautions.
Although the internship is still running during COVID-19, there have been many changes to ensure safety. Rotations were shortened and started later due to the high infection rates, and students are required to take their temperature and record it.
With graduation in the near future for many Slicers, this program is a great chance to have real world experiences in the health field.
“This is a great experience for anyone contemplating going into the medical field. Being able to list that you worked an unpaid internship directly in a hospital not only looks great on a resume, but it could what sets candidates apart when applying for college,” LaRocco said.