Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Exploring The Healthcare Field Through A Summer Internship

Leo Stoll, a Nursing major in the Verrazano Class of 2015, was accepted to the Rusk Health Career Opportunity Program for the summer.  Through this intensive internship program, Leo had the opportunity to gain real world experience and network with professionals while building his resume.  Read more about Leo's experience with the Rusk internship.

During the spring term of my first year of college at The Verrazano School at the College of Staten Island, I received an email from Katie Geschwendt, the Verrazano Coordinator. In the email was a link to an application for a summer internship at New York University Langone Medical Center. It was for a program called Health Career Opportunity Program at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU. This program offers strictly summer internships in three four-week sessions that last from May until August in specific medical fields at one of NYU’s many hospitals. Some of the departments available to applicants are Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Psychology Research, Social Work, and Speech Pathology. Any department a student is accepted into will offer a great opportunity in one of three fields of their choice. I was accepted into the Nursing Department and placed into NYU’s Cancer Institute with a Doctor of Nursing Practice who specializes in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology.

An average day consisted of me shadowing my DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) by assisting her with her patients. I was able to meet and listen in on patient treatment discussions and follow-ups. Since she specialized in children with brain tumors I gained valuable experience in dealing with young patients who are just trying to live a normal life. I will never forget all of the young kids I met who fight to survive every day of their lives. Although many of them were too young to understand what was going on, their physicians, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses took great care of them. I was lucky to be able to see what a loving and caring environment NYU’s Cancer Institute provided the patients. The daily hospital visits that many of the patients experienced were turned into playful memories by all the volunteers and interns who came to make each and every day special for the children.  I will always value these experiences and use them to make myself a better camp counselor during the summer.

On specific days of the week I accompanied my DNP to board meetings, office meetings, and hospital lectures. I was allowed to sit in and listen to various discussions on all patient matters. I learned that it takes an entire practice of health care professionals to tend to a patient and that each one of them makes a difference in a patient’s overall care. Along with specifically shadowing my DNP, I also spent many hours with other professionals in the office who were physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nursing attendants, phlebotomists, social workers, registered dieticians, physical therapists and recreational therapists. I was able to see how everyone in the office worked together and how the patients benefited from the work put in by all health care professionals.

As a kid I hated going to doctor appointments because they were always so long and boring, but The Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center made the experiences as fun and enjoyable for the children as possible. There is a play room where the kids can participate in various activities such as arts and crafts and video games where they are provided snacks during and in between treatments. There are multiple volunteers who come in on a daily basis to provide other entertainment like magic shows and animal therapy. I spent many afternoons myself in the play room and enjoyed every moment of it as the kids were exposed to a fun, educational, and social environment that usually only school can offer for multiple hours at a time. The play room is a vital part of Hassenfeld Children’s Center and made the kids want to come to see their favorite volunteers and many friends. I am sure that as these kids grow up they will remember the fun times they experienced in the play room and keep the friends they met there for years to come; I know that I will never forget any of them. This internship was truly an experience of a lifetime. 

After reading Leo's story, are you interested in the Rusk Health Career Opportunity Program? To learn more and find out how to apply, visit http://rusk.med.nyu.edu/health-career-opportunity-program.

The application deadline for Summer 2013 is February 1st.  


  1. I have been accepted to this program also. Can you tell me how long your day usually was? Like from 8am to 4pm?

    1. Hi Jane,

      I have a few questions about the HCOP summer program. Is there any way I can contact you?