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The Key to Getting an Internship

Getting a summer internship or job upon graduating college can be extremely difficult. Not only are internships competitive, I have found most times you may not even get a response unless you are hired. Unfortunately due to Coronavirus most students who have been hired for an internship had that stripped away from them. Nonetheless, I thought it would be helpful to share my experience applying for internships, what I did while interning, and tips to help future students when applying.

Summer of 2019-Applying for Internships

I was a Philosophy major on a Pre-Nursing track during my undergraduate career, so I knew I wanted to intern in a hospital or research setting. I kid you not, I applied to probably 25 internships over the course of two months. Many of the internships I applied for were looking to hire interns that were either junior or seniors in undergrad, or were in medical school. I knew I would be at a disadvantage not being in medical school when it came to applying to these internships, but, I still decided to apply. I ended up being hired to intern for Hackensack Meridian in the Hospital Elder Life Program as well as at New York Presbyterian-Westchester Division in their mixed diagnosis psychiatric unit. I decided to accept both positions and worked at Hackensack Meridian once a week and NY Presbyterian four times a week.

Tips For Applying

  • Use any connections you have when applying. Reach out to alumni, family friends, previous bosses, etc. in order to be hired. These connections will give you an advantage during the application process, and they will often be more than happy to write a letter of recommendation for you. I had reached out to several alumni from my university through Linkedin and got several helpful responses!

  • Follow up after applying to ensure they got your application, as well as to directly express interest.

  • Sell yourself. This may be one of the most important tips I could provide you with. I have noticed that GPA is not everything. People want to see that there is more to you than academics, so really try to express your passion for the internship when applying.

  • Make your cover letter clear and concise. Briefly introduce yourself, express what qualifies you for this internship, and why interning with this particular company is important to you. Companies want to see an applicant who truly understands and supports their values.

Summer 2019-My Experience

The first internship I was hired for was at Hackensack Meridian with the Hospital Elder Life Program. This program consisted of visiting elderly patients in their hospital rooms to provide enriching conversations to prevent a decline in cognitive ability due to their illness. One of the primary reasons I want to go into nursing is due to the patient interaction. I find it very rewarding to advocate and care for individuals who are unable to do so themselves. During this experience, I was blessed with the opportunity to do just that. I found that many patients just wanted to feel like someone cared, and they enjoyed having the ability to reminisce. My second internship was at NY Presbyterian-Westchester Division where I worked on a mixed diagnosis psychiatric unit that had patients of a variety of ages. At Ny-Presbyterian, I maintained therapeutic relationships with patients while providing supervision of meals and belongings to ensure patient safety. Additionally, I reported patients’ emotional and physical behaviors to the nursing team, as well as assist patients in daily activities and coping skills.

Tips Following Your Internship

  • Keep in touch with your mentors. You should keep in touch with your mentors for several reasons. Firstly, most mentors are more than willing to write letters of recommendation for you. I had two nurses and the head of a hospital unit write letters of recommendation for me, and to my surprise, I got into every nursing school I applied to. Secondly, they have knowledge that they are more than willing to share. If you have a question following your internship about anything regarding their profession, they really are great resources. Lastly, if you ever need a job in the future, they may be able to help.

  • Use your internship in future applications to demonstrate your ability to combine your academics with real experiences outside of the classroom.

  • Thank your bosses and mentors for welcoming you onto their team for the summer.

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