This semester has been full of surprises for us at the HELP internship. We have made amazing connections with patients and staff that we hope to continue after the semester ends. Both of us plan to continue volunteering for HELP after we graduate because we truly love the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of elders. We have been so fortunate to be able to work under the guidance of our supervisor, Peggy, and the Rec Therapist, Nicole. These ladies have an amazing passion for their work, and they continue to inspire and motivate us evey time we see each other. Patients would not receive the same experience of compassion, and would not have as pleasant of a stay without the dedication of these wonderful women. We are so thankful for getting to work with them, and we know our relationships with them will continue to grow even after our internship ends.
After graduation, Alex will be continuing her education at Nazareth as she pursues her Master's in Creative Arts Therapy. She hopes to work with the elder population or children with disabilities. She also hopes to continue volunteering at Highland, as long as they keep serving coconut cream pie in the cafeteria. Joan plans on working full-time as an activities assistant with the elderly, and part-time as an elder companion. She would also like to keep volunteering at Highland, partially just for Peggy's homemade cupcakes.
Thank you for following our journey through this blog, and we hope that we have entertained and informed our audience about the joys of working in the field of gerontology!
Hello again, this is Joan. With our semester coming to an end, I would like to offer some advice for future interns. From the HELP internship and my previous internship at Glenmere Assisted Living, I have learned a lot about myself as an individual and as a professional. At the start of something new, it is normal to be nervous and anxious when you don't know what will happen next. Here are some things I have learned to help make the intersnhip experience less anxiety-provoking and more useful:
First, always ask questions! You want to make sure that you and your supervisor have the same set of expectations, and that all directions are clear. When I first started making visits with HELP, I sometimes found it awkward and hard to figure out what to say next. I asked my supervisor, Peggy, and she walked me through it. Whenever I have been unsure of something, I have tried to make a point of asking Peggy or someone else on the floor if I don't have time to ask Peggy. I learned the hard way that it's never a good idea to guess when you're unsure, especially when patients are involved. Even if you think you know what you're doing, it's important to just ask questions and solidify your expectations throughout your internship.
Second, use the opportunity to network! At both of my internships, I have tried to take time to talk to people in my field that have the jobs that I want to have. I have found that most people are willing to sit down and talk about what their jobs are like and what training they had. I have made wonderful connections with people like the Recreation Therapist, nurses, doctors, and social workers who work with the geriatric population. They have given me honest feedback and encouragement for my future, and it's always nice to hear someone's personal experience to see if the career you want is really as wonderful as it sounds on paper. I also know that I will be able to use a lot of these connections for letters of reccommendation and future job opportunities.
Lastly, take it one day at a time. Some days will be overwhelming, especially at the beginning of the internship when you are still learning the ropes. When I have a particularly hard day with patients, I try to take a deep breath and re-focus on the reason I am there. In our case with the HELP internship, we always need to put the patients first and remember that what we are doing is making a difference, even if someone doesn't seem particularly thrilled with our visits. For every orniary patient there are so many more patients that love and enjoy the service we provide. When things get tough, you can't give up. Ask for help, look for support from your supervisor and coworkers, and remember why you are there.
Between Alex and myself, we have completed four internships working with the older adult population. We agree that these experiences have been much more helpful to us than most classes. Hands-on learning in your field of interest is the best way to find out how well suited you are for your desired career. I always reccommend internships to upperclassmen because it is truly an uinforgettable and incredibly helpful experience if you take full advantage of the opportunity. I am forever grateful for the experience I have had interning with HELP, and I know that the connections I have made will continue to help me both personally and professionally.
Hello everyone, Alex here to talk about career satisfaction within the HELP program at Highland and the relationship it has to Joan and I's future careers in Geriatrics. Through the HELP program satisfaction comes easy. It is not a internship in which we have to wait for meetings or supervisors to congratulate us; its the patients who give us our satisfaction. Which can easily be transferred to nursing home patients or assisted living in which our future career paths may lead us to.
I can easily say for Joan and I we gain our satisfaction through seeing patients get discharged back to their homes; getting better from whatever illness they came in with and from family members telling us that we have lifted spirits and made a difference. It's not everyday that you get told that you have made someone happier, or brightened their day. I believe the satisfaction is knowing that we are helping someone to get better and therefore satisfies our need of knowing we're important. Many people cannot say that on a daily basis they make someone smile, or laugh. We are told numerous times we are loved and have made some people forget they are in the hospital due to illness. Therefore the key to our success in our careers in making a difference!
As two individuals with experience in Geriatric settings, I do not believe this is a new realization or surprising. When you are working with people, part of the goal is to help them and make them at ease. We are working with these elders, not because we have to, but because we want to prolong legacies and watch them get healthy. It is not a career in which you can be selfish. I can say for the both of us that this experience has made us realize what our society needs to take notice of as the geriatric population is growing and that people just want to be noticed and know that someone cares. Some of these patients have out lived their family members and look forward to our visits as time to talk and have a sense of a family relationship. There is not much more I can say, I believe the point is obvious. Satisfaction is just being with these individuals!
As I said before, these are important values and attitudes in our careers in that we must "be the change we wish to see in the world" and we can only do that by helping what is already in place. We are not only helping the patients currently at Highland, but expanding a program that could be beneficial to other hospitals and help families realize what their elder relatives need. Satisfaction is a given when you work with such an amazing population!
Hello again! This is Joan, and today I am going to talk a little bit about work flow at Highland, as well as our experience with Geriatric Teach Day this week!
As far as work flow goes, for the HELP internship we work in pairs or groups of three to visit patients. In my experience, I have found that having at least one other intern with me to do the visits is very helpful. Sometimes we experience that moment of awkward silence when you just aren't sure what to say to a patient who might not be very talkative. It's always nice to have another volunteer along to help break the silence or think of a new direction for conversation. Going in groups of two or three also helps when we are writing up our notes about patients because we have more than one memory or perspective to rely on. When things are stressful, such as dealing with a difficlt patient or staff member, it is also nice to have someone right there with you to relate to. Alex and I are always able to comfort each other and sometimes just vent so that we won't dwell on any obstacles and we can keep putting our best faces forward for the patients. At first, it could be a little difficult at times for me to work with a partner because I am usually very independent (and a little bossy...), but over time this experience has helped me be more open to new ways of doing things, working together, and communicating effectively. As we have mentioned before, we also receive amazing guidance from our supervior, Peggy, and the Recreation Therapist, Nicole. They both keep us motivated, challenge us, and unite us for the common cause of improving the lives of patients. By working with each other, our wonderful supervisor, and the fantastic recreation therapist, Alex and I are able to see all of our patients and make meaningful connections with people who may or may not be on our program.
Before I close for the week, I want to mention the amazing opportunity that we had earlier this week. Alex, myself, and some of the other interns were able to volunteer at Highland's Geriatric Teach Day, so we got to tell people about HELP and attend the whole conference for free! We made great connections with other professionals interested in the geriatric population. We talked to nurses, doctors, and social workers, and we observed and participated in lectures, activities, and a discussion panel. Topics of the conference included compassionate care for elders, safe care transitions, innovation of long-term care, pain management needs of older adults, and the challenges of aging and intellectual disabilities. We were so thankful to be able to share our experiences from the HELP internship, and everyone we talked to about the program sounded very interested in our work. We also gained a lot of valuable insight for working with the older adult population. Alex and I both highly recommend this conference to anyone who is interested in geriatrics, and we really hope to be able to attend again next year! We continue to be amazed and grateful for the opportunities this internship has given us, and we know our experiences with HELP will always have a place in our hearts and in our lives as professionals.
Through this internship at Avenue D, I have learned many things about myself and the Community Youth Development minor. Working closely with inspirational employees has made this an experience that I will take with me as I pursue a Master’s degree in School Psychology. I have learned how important it is when working with youth to be a compassionate, kind, empathetic individual, who truly enjoys what they do. Throughout this experience, I have not only picked up on these qualities from my supervisors, but I have realized through my experience reflections, that I do have these types of qualities which is an important start in successfully pursuing youth work.
In addition to my internship experience, I have learned a lot about the minor. I finally understand how important it is to focus on elements that promote positive youth development. At Avenue D, I could physically see how important it is for youth to have these added resources to explore in order to reach their potential as individuals. I have also learned the importance of literacy programs within after school programs. I had the opportunity to see how these programs helps provide 40 developmental assets that are important, such as, reading for fun, having role models outside of the home, being in a safe environment, developing responsibility and problem solving skills.
Overall, I have enjoyed everything about this experience, including Avenue D and Community Youth Development. I hope to incorporate CYD principles and practices into my future profession as a School Psychologist. My future as a resource for youth will be a perfect place to remember my Avenue D experience, and express the positive characteristics I have developed as a result of being their intern.
Well, my friends, we’ve come at last to my final entry in my internship blog; it’s been quite a journey and I’m so glad you’ve been able to join me for the experience. Throughout my internship, I have learned a great deal not only about the radio industry, but also about myself.This internship has presented me both with opportunities and challenges that will no doubt help me in numerous ways going into the future. I have learned the logistics of how a radio station is run, from how songs are programmed (I assure you, it’s not as easy as it sounds—as my boss put it to me when I first started, it’s a bit like playing Tetris; everything has to fit in just so) to how audience feedback factors into the music selection process, to how advertisements are made, and how the mixing boards are operated in real time over the air, among many other things.
Additionally, I’ve learned a great deal about organizational culture. At WARM 101.3 and Stephens Media Group, I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of a very welcoming, relaxed, and friendly organizational culture that appreciates the unique contribution of each of its employees, something I greatly appreciate. I have enjoyed getting to know my supervisor, Stan, and a great many of the staff at the station, especially Pat Rivers, with whom I have had many a long conversation lamenting the current state of popular culture—we will take The Carpenters over Lady Gaga any day!
Throughout my internship, I have also learned things about myself—or at least I’ve been able to better refine my understanding of things I already knew about myself. I’ve described some of these things in previous posts; for instance, while I always knew I preferred to work alone rather than in groups, and I like being given the freedom to do things as I see fit and on my own timetable, I’ve learned that it is important to me that I be aware of what is expected of me when I am given a project. I’ve learned it is better to ask questions when I’m unsure rather than trying to do a task blindly. I’ve also learned that I am actually most productive when I don’t take things as seriously; when I make time to have some fun during the workday, the work is easier, and I am more productive.Indeed, I’ve learned a great many things about myself throughout my internship, but perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is about career satisfaction. As I’ve said before, while there are several factors that will affect my career satisfaction, the most significant factor is that my career affords me the means and the flexibility to pursue the things in my life that matter most to me, especially my family, which will always come first for me, no matter what.
As for where I go from here, I’m afraid I don’t have any concrete answer right now; quite frankly, I’m still trying to figure it out. All I can say is that, no matter what I do, I will build on the things I have already learned and will continue to grow, and seek opportunities to learn, every day for the rest of my life. I don’t feel I need or could possibly have all the answers for my life today; and, in the words of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
I know when it comes to a CYD internship; many students find stress in thinking about finding a placement, and being able to keep up with the extra work that comes along with a professional internship. However, I would highly advise those students not to get intimidated. Internships in general are the best learning experiences. In my experience, I have learned the most about Community Youth Development because of my internship. It is a perfect opportunity to take what you learn in the classroom, and from textbooks, and apply it out of the classroom. Not only do classroom concepts become clearer, but also you get the chance to reflect on your personal goals, and get a better sense of what you want in a future career.
I have learned a lot from this internship thanks to the professor who supervises the Community Youth Development program. Having this supervisor available to assess my progress in applying CYD to my internship has been an important element throughout the semester. The feedback provided has helped strengthen my understanding of ideas presented in the CYD minor. I feel confident that they have my best learning interests at heart, and without their involvement, I do not think I would have gained so much insight into the principals, premises, and practices of Community Youth Development. It is refreshing to have someone who is so dedicated and passionate about CYD ensure that I am getting the most out of my internship experience. Overall, I am deeply thankful for the opportunities my supervisor has made possible this semester. This unforgettable learning experience will help me out immensely in whatever I choose to pursue after I obtain my bachelor’s from Nazareth College.
Hello everyone, this is Alex here to talk about what Joan and I would consider to be a "typical day" at Highland Hospital within our HELP program. First off, our week consists of three times where we are at Highland. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; however on Wednesdays Joan and I assist with the recreational therapist during the "social lunch" hour playing games, doing trivia, crafts, and other various activities to orient and keep the patients socializing.
Typically Joan and I arrive at Highland around 10:00a.m. and stay until 2:00p.m. Our first stop when we arrive is to see our supervisor Peggy. We usually stop there and catch up on what occured over the weekend, new patients we have in our program, and any new advances/or declines in our previous patients. If there is a new patient it is Joan and I's responsibility to create a Highland HELP gift bag. which consists of a comb, chap stick, pen, paper. stuffed animal for females or stress ball for men, and then a pamphlet on our program to orient the patients on what it is we are trying to accomplish. We also provide books, magazaines, music, games and the daily newspaper to our patients who request these things. After we review with Peggy we head out from about 10:15a.m. until about 12:00noon when Joan and I eat lunch. Our process goes something like this...
When we go into a patients room we must always knock first and sanitize our hands. We also must look to see if they have any contact precautions which would require us to dress in our gowns (see Joans beautiful picture of her in a gown!). If they do not have a precaution, we look for a red stop sign near the door which means they are a fall risk and may have a bed or chair alarm. After we clear all of these steps, we enter the room. Typically, we introduce ourselves if we know the patient will not recall who we are. We then check their white board to make sure their information and dates our accurate before we begin our conversation, this way we are re-orienting them with correct information they can see themselves. After all the protocal work, we simply begin chatting away. We talk about whatever is current and help to encourage life review and events. Each time we visit a patient is different. Some visits may be as short at 5 minutes if they do not request a visit, or do not need anything, while other visits can be up to an hour of chatting, doing trivia, or hanging out watching their favorite shows such as 'The Price is Right'. When our visit is coming to a close we make sure we ask if the patient if he or she needs or want any kind of book or activity, so that we can have it brought up to them ASAP. Upon leaving we sanitize our hands, (*it is important to always clean our hands before and after any visits).
After we finish our morning visits, we go to lunch from about 12:00noon for a half an hour. After finishing lunch we check in with Peggy to see if any new patients were added to the program. If so, we deliver gift bags and introduce ourselves, as well as the program. If there are not any new patients, we ask Peggy what she would like us to do. If the day seems to be going slow, Peggy will let us leave a few minutes early!
This is the typical day for Joan and I on Mondays and Fridays in a nutshell. On Wednesdays with the recreational therapist it is always unpredictable. Nicole, the rec therapist likes to keep activities different and creative, so therefore Joan and I do not always know what we will be doing. For us, Wednesday do not have a "typical day" type of schedule, the only consistency we have is our patients we see during the "social lunch." Overall, that is how our days at the HELP program measure out! :) Thank you for reading!
Through my placement at Avenue D, I am learning a lot about my future career goals. As I come close to graduation, I am confident that I want to work with youth. The actual career I end up with is irrelevant, as long as I get to work with youth in a setting that incorporates Community Youth Development principles and practices. I like being in an atmosphere that emphasizes what youth can do, and promotes positive development. Many CYD readings discuss the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, in order to stress the importance community plays in positive youth development. I have learned that I really love being part of a community that has the best interest of the youth at heart. In terms of my future career, I am learning that it is not really about what I want, but, for me, is about finding a place where I can be an excellent resource and support system for the youth I work with in order to assist them in reaching their full potential. In my mind, there is nothing better than feeling as if I am a part of an organization that is doing exceptional work in terms of providing youth with assets that help them grow. I think my passion for this kind of work is the first step in becoming a successful youth worker.
40 Developmental Assets that are essential for positive youth development:
Well, the time has come when I am supposed to impart my sage advice to all the future interns of Nazareth College; I’ll do my best! One thing I wish I had known before I started my internship, as trivial as it may sound, is about the parking. Since my internship is downtown, my office does not have its own parking, per se, so I have to find my own parking, which can sometimes be difficult.
There are two lots near the First Federal Plaza, where WARM
101.3 and Stephens Media Group are located; one is an open lot and the other is
a garage behind the First Federal Plaza.
Unfortunately, however, sometimes both lots are full when I arrive, and
then I have to drive around through the city to find another parking garage.
Although parking is a relatively small thing, when it isn’t easily accessible, then it becomes quite a nuisance. There have been days when it has taken me half an hour driving around just to find a parking spot, something I would not recommend to anyone hoping to retain his or her sanity. So something I wish I had been aware of before I started my internship is how difficult parking downtown can be; that way, I might have taken the time to become familiar with all the nearby garages in the area so that I would be prepared for anything.
As for my advice to students taking internships in the
future, the most important thing I can say is that one should do something he
or she is genuinely interested in. Too many people, I believe, do things for
the sake of doing them rather than because they actually have an interest in
what they are doing; personally, I believe you should do things
conscientiously, or not at all.
One piece of advice a colleague gave me has also been particularly helpful for me. He told me that I shouldn’t work too hard, and he had a point. I tend to feel the need to work perhaps overly hard at times because I want to demonstrate that I care about my position and the work that I’m doing; however, as the axiom goes, “All work and no play makes John a dull boy.” Further, by working all the time, one tends to get tired of the task at hand more quickly. By taking periodic breaks to talk casually with others, whether it be my boss, or other colleagues, or just to glance out the window even, the work feels much lighter and I tend to be more productive at it.
Ultimately, if you choose an internship that you’re interested in, you do your work conscientiously, and you remember to try to have some fun while you’re doing it, chances are you will end up having a very enjoyable and rewarding internship experience.