Learning the ways in a top-tier hospital
Nursing graduate, Rebekah Brannen ’20 spent the fall semester interning at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. She began the experience feeling intimidated, however gained confidence in herself and the process as she continued to find her footing in the high-pressure environment.
What was a day in the life of your internship like?
I worked the day shift 7 a.m.–7p.m., so I would get to my unit at around 6:30 in the morning. This way I could be ready for report from the night shift staff. I would then go check in on all my patients and do a quick head to toe exam to determine which medications I would be giving that morning. The rest of the day is all about continuing to monitor their status and coordinate their care with the rest of the care team (physicians, physician assistants, nutritionist physical therapy, etc.) A lot of my day is documenting on my patient assignment and checking in to ensure they are still stable, not in pain, and getting the correct medications. Towards the end of the day it was all about ensuring all the work and testing was completed and then getting report ready for the next nurse.
What was the most significant project you have worked on?
I had the opportunity to work with some of the quality improvement teams at Brigham. My preceptor and I were on the catheter associated UTI (CAUTI) prevention task force and every other week we would do audits and go to meetings to collect data and analyze the progress of Brigham as a whole. This was really about improving patient outcomes and keeping Brigham one of the top hospitals in the world. It was great to see how the entire hospital came together to collaborate and ensure their patients are receiving the best care possible.
Did your internship relate to your major and desired future career (what is that)? Do you think it got you a step closer to that end goal?
Yes, absolutely! I learned so much during my time at Brigham, and I think having a big-name hospital like that on my resume is going to help me put my best foot forward as I apply for jobs as a new graduate nurse.
Do you feel that you were prepared going into the internship? How did you gain confidence during the process?
I felt adequately prepared for my internship. However, that being said, it was very intimidating walking into my unit for the first couple shifts I worked. I was with some of the top trained cardiac doctors and nurses and they were all so incredibly smart and skilled, so being in that environment put a little bit of extra pressure on me to perform well. In order to gain confidence, I had to tell myself every day that my preceptor would not let me do anything she did not think I was capable of, and she continued to push my comfort zone. I left my internship feeling ready to tackle the real world as a nurse!
What did the experience teach you about yourself, the job, and your future career?
I learned that I really love to stay busy. It is so hard for me to sit still on the slower days in the unit. I love spending time with my patients, and I was not so excited about the paperwork and documentation that comes with the job. All the long days and exhaustion and stress that comes with being a nurse is so worth it when you get to see your patient’s progress. We have the ability to put a smile on their face when they are in a negative situation.
What is your best tip for networking with site supervisors and internship colleagues?
Introduce yourself to the higher-ups! I talked a lot with my nurse manager and interviewed her for a project and I think that really helped me find my place on my unit.
What advice do you have for future Endicott interns to help them get the most out of their experience?
Especially for nursing students, I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask questions! A lot of times it can be scary to ask questions because you never want to seem like you don’t know what you are doing, but everyone understands that you are learning, and they were in your shoes at one time too! It is always better to ask a question then to make a mistake that would have been preventable.