Waking up at 6:00 in the morning to observe an X-ray in process, or to help deliver blood samples to the testing room may not sound like the ideal summer job to most people, but to the seven student interns at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor, it’s a dream come true. Samantha Rigge, Miranda Carlson, Allie Zieske, Hailey Enstad, Kylie Jans, Jake Pederson, and Isaac Rillo are the lucky interns participating in an 8-week internship program this summer that allows them to gain firsthand experience in over ten different healthcare fields.
Typically, the local summer interns work three days a week in a department, then switch to a new department the following week. So far, their favorite areas have been OR (operating room), where they observe surgeries, and lab.
“I like lab because they let you run the machines,” explained Kylie Jans. “Plus, the people are fun to work with!”
The Director of Nursing and Summer Intern Coordinator at the hospital, Patty Massmann, said that the department heads are encouraged to involve the interns in their daily tasks. Of course, without a healthcare degree, what the interns can do is limited, but they can help with a lot of little things like moving patients, visiting with them, or taking their blood pressure.
Much of what the interns learn comes from observations and having conversations with the staff about why they chose to go into a certain field and the type of schooling it took to get there. This gives the students a chance to see whether or not a field fits their interests, and it could even help them determine whether or not it’s a career they would like to pursue, too.
When asked what she had seen that made her want to go into a career in nursing, Sam Rigge answered, “How interactive the nurses are, and just seeing how they can help people.”
For Jake Pederson, the internship has simply given him reassurance about what career path he wants to follow.
“I’ve always wanted to be a surgeon. Being in OR has confirmed that this is what I want to do.”
Following in his father, Dr. Art Rillo’s, footsteps, Isaac Rillo has really enjoyed the time he’s spent working at the hospital. For Isaac, it’s not the job, but the people themselves that make him truly enjoy the time he spends there.
“The appreciation shown by the patients and their families just make me feel good,” commented Rillo.
The interns all agree that the staff at the hospital are what makes this experience so unique and useful.
Page 2 of 2 - “All the people working explain things so well and show you how to do everything,” Jans commented.
“Yeah, it’s the workers that make it fun!” added Rigge.
The kids would never have gotten this great opportunity though without the dedication of the Hospital and Manor Board of Directors. Two years ago, after the summer of 2011, the Minnesota Healthcare Association discontinued the grant program that funded the summer healthcare intern program. The money that usually came from those grants covered half of each intern’s wage. Without that grant money, it would be expected that most hospitals would no longer be able to offer internships, or the number of internships that they offer would have to decrease. Instead, the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor has kept their program running, and they actually increased their number of local interns this summer, from four to seven.
“The Board of Directors is committed to the students in our community and to helping them pursue a career in healthcare,” said Massmann.
The generosity of the Board has given the interns a chance to gain experience that will set them apart from other students. Plus, the knowledge they will take with them will be invaluable when deciding upon their future career paths.