Shaler student valuing AGH internship experience
Thursday, July 4, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Shaler Area rising senior Samantha Goetz landed one of 30 spots in Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Healthcare Discovery Summer Internship, an eight-week paid learning experience for high school juniors and seniors.
According to Charlie Cervantes-Judge, AHN’s health sciences director, the health network received 120 applications from local students interested in medical careers for the program, which provides hands-on experience in clinical and non-clinical areas and exposure to medical professionals.
When applying for the internship, students specify which of AHN’s six hospital locations they would prefer.
Goetz, 17, is an Allegheny General Hospital intern, who is completing rotations in the Orthopedics and Advanced Heart Failure departments and Complex Medical Care Unit.
Cervantes-Judge said that “Samantha is part of ensuring that all patients and their families on the unit have a positive experience throughout their stay.”
“She is learning about the responsibilities of the nurses and nursing assistants on the unit while assisting the staff with tasks such as changing bedding for patients, assisting with baths, obtaining extra blankets and pillows and securing meals as permitted by the patient’s orders,” he said. “In addition, interns are given the opportunity to learn about the higher-skilled tasks of the staff and learn the mechanics of the patient care process.”
Goetz has aspired to pursue a medical career since she underwent spinal fusion and stabilization surgery to correct severe scoliosis as a 14-year-old.
“It just seemed like a good opportunity to test out the waters and see what working in the hospital and being in medicine is like, and I love that field,” she said of the internship.
Goetz, of Shaler, is completing her Complex Medical Care Unit rotation. She is especially looking forward to her orthopedics round.
“When you get to orthopedics there’s this chance that you get to scrub into the OR (operating room) with the surgeon. I am so excited about getting to go to orthopedics. It’s my last rotation. So, I can’t wait because it’s going to be amazing, especially because it’s, like, one of my main interests,” she said.
Goetz and her cohort containing three other interns witnessed a birthing simulation, learned CPR and practiced medical troubleshooting skills at the Simulation, Teaching, and Academic Research (STAR) Center at AHN.
At the internship’s conclusion, each student cohort will present a research project to hospital staff. Goetz said that her group might study how current hospital patient discharge practices impact the overall flow of patient admissions and discharges. She proposed opening a separate holding area for discharged patients waiting to leave the hospital and for hospitals to partner with ride-share services so that patients don’t have to occupy beds while they await people to come pick them up.
“Samantha was a very curious student. She focused on understanding a topic and connecting it to other content, not just on getting a good grade. She asked excellent questions in class that indicated she could apply classroom content to relevant situations outside of class,” Emily Mohr, Goetz’s AP Biology teacher, said. “Samantha was a leader in the classroom. Her peers listened when she spoke, and she took charge of group work and labs in a confident, yet easy- going, manner.”
Mohr said the internship will help Goetz find her preferred medical specialty.
“I love going to work and I love leaving work because I just feel so accomplished, and it’s so exciting,” Goetz said. “Every day I’m learning something new and fun and the nurses are letting me have hands-on experiences with the patients and stuff, so it just makes me feel so great that I get to do this.”