As we help build the workforce of tomorrow, Fairview hosted nearly 80 high school and college interns this summer. They worked in areas including Nursing, Patient Relations, Perioperative Services, Anesthesiology, Rehab, Administration, and IT.
Our Talent Acquisition team in HR works with internship organizations such as STEP-UP Achieve and Right Track to build student pipelines. Fairview also collaborated with other Minnesota health care systems to develop a nursing internship program.
Here’s how students in each of the programs described their experience.
STEP-UP Achieve: Ernestina Genis
STEP-UP recruits young people age 14 to 21 through schools and community partners in Minneapolis. Their focus is low-income students and those with other barriers to employment such as having a disability, being pregnant, or past involvement with the juvenile justice system.
They provide work-readiness training at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, such as helping students prepare a resume and taking them through mock interviews. Students then get a shot at paid internships and professional mentoring at 150 local employers.
Jeana Houseman, Director of Infection Prevention at University of Minnesota Medical Center, is always looking for helping hands. Her intern was Ernestina Genis, a senior at Longfellow Alternative High School in Minneapolis.
“My primary goal for Ernestina was to work with hand hygiene,” Jeana says. “She participated in our ‘secret shopper’ program and monitored physician, nurse, and technician hand-washing practices, along with a number of other projects. Ernestina is very bright, works well independently, and has a solid work ethic.”
“I didn’t even know infection prevention was a health care field before this summer,” Ernestina says. “STEP-UP gets students closer to the field they want to be in, and it allowed me to explore new areas of health care. I think Fairview is a high-quality system.”
Ernestina is working on her associate’s degree in sleep studies at MCTC.
Right Track: Thongxeng Lee
Right Track is a St. Paul version of STEP-UP. Internships through Right Track go to students age 16 to 21 who come from a low-income family or have other challenges in getting a job such as being a first-generation immigrant or in foster care.
They have to submit a resume, write an essay about their dream job, and be interviewed. Then they’re matched with companies that are a good fit for their interests and are willing to support them as they work and learn.
Before they start on the job, Right Track prepares them with practical skills like typing, note-taking, and sending professional emails. During their paid internship, companies are expected to give them time to continue classes at St. Paul College.
Right Track visits the job site at least two times during the summer to make sure the student and employer are getting the most out of the program.
Bethesda Hospital Executive Assistant Ann Boland sought a Right Track intern to help with projects this summer. She found Thongxeng Lee, a 2018 graduate of Johnson High School in St. Paul.
“After his first week, I knew Thongxeng was capable of doing anything,” Ann says. “Not only did he help with admin, finance, and other projects, he managed the front desk and has great work etiquette. He was confident and connected with employees and leaders easily.”
“I was the only Bethesda intern,” Thongxeng says. “This allowed me to take on a lot of responsibility. Ann encouraged me to meet with site leaders and shadow employees in Environmental Services, Spiritual Care, Respiratory, Staffing, and Security. It helped me truly understand how a hospital’s front line works.”
Thongxeng starts at the University of Minnesota this fall to study physiology.
Summer Nursing: Carlos Grosch Mendes
The Summer Nursing Internship program has been going strong for a decade, and this year we had 63 participants.
“This program will continue to grow and feed all of our inpatient and ambulatory patient care areas,’ says Tanya Velishek, Manager of Academic Clinical Placement. “We hire a majority of our nursing interns, and they have an 87 percent retention rate.”
Registered nurses mentor interns one-on-one so they can get hands-on experience. We’ve found that nurses we’ve hired through the program come to the bedside with a better understanding of patient care and high levels of compassion.
“Being an intern in the Emergency Department taught me that even when I am having a good day, it’s probably one of the worst days for my patients,” says Carlos Grosch Mendes, who worked at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. “I had the opportunity to learn from a team of professionals who do their best every day using the most recent research, evidence-based practice, and critical-thinking skills.”