Entering this internship at the beginning of the summer, I had a vision for my future: fuse my passions for health care and economics to work towards health equity and equal opportunity. However, I wasn’t certain how to actively pursue it because I hadn’t made any definitive decisions about career paths. My internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center guided me in this exploration and opened my eyes to various ways to incorporate my broad interests in a future career.
While the primary focus of my internship was research, I had the opportunity to network with various health care professionals, which aided in my career exploration. I was able to see multiple facets of working in a hospital environment – clinical, research, financial, and administrative. While I spoke to professionals with a diversity of backgrounds and in a variety of settings, all of them emphasized the importance of working as a team with other individuals. In order to attain better outcomes, information must be effectively communicated and patient care must be carefully coordinated. Within a hospital environment, everyone has a part in bettering the outcome and experience of the patient. Having the opportunity to see various roles (direct and indirect) of the patient care team allowed me to see that one can make an impact in healthcare without necessarily being a doctor, or even a clinician. While my career goals have changed slightly, I still desire to make a positive impact via pursuing a career in health care.
One of my biggest learning moments for the summer was actually outside the hospital where I observed my supervisor’s work in community health. In this setting, I witnessed a host of activities: the grant-writing process, long-term goal setting, and neighbor-to-neighbor outreach in the community, all of which require coordination and collaboration. In discussing the organization’s conditions for success, an Americorps Public Ally shared a tenant she learned in her program – “speak your truth.” She explained that this means not only speaking honestly, but also speaking what you, as a unique individual, know to be true. During my experiences with this community organization, I learned that this means you can’t make assumptions that everyone thinks the same way you do. You can’t speak on behalf of others, but you can speak on behalf of what you know to be true – your vision for the future.
This summer I learned how to pursue my vision for the future and how to really own it. Just because my career goals change, doesn’t mean my vision for the future has to. I know that wherever I end up, I will be taking an active part in the the pursuit for health equity and equal opportunity to survive and thrive. That’s my truth that I will speak.
Written by Katie Wheeler, BC Class of 2017