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Internships Can Help

As a student or someone with limited job experience internships can be a wonderful way to gain experience and get your foot in the door even if you initially work for free. In medieval times finding a job was easier. If your father had  a profession you were expected to take over the family business and go into that profession. However, if the family had too many sons or didn’t have a family profession the youngster (often at the age of 13 or younger) could become an apprentice to a professional in need of some help. The young apprentice would be given the most menial of tasks, starting with sweeping up the shop or doing other tasks that the “master” didn’t want to do. Then slowly he would be given increasing responsibilities until by the age of 18 he would be able to perform the vast majority of what the master could do. This system of training worked well and even Benjamin Franklin was an apprentice in a printing shop.

Today we send our children to school where hopefully they will learn to read and write and eventually get into college. Once they graduate they are on their own but depending on their major they may not have a single marketable skill. After all, how much demand is there for underwater basket weavers, or psychology majors?  Even if you major in a profession like engineering or drafting where there is a defined job path it is often difficult to break in to the profession without any experience. And that is where internships come in.

An internship gives you the opportunity to gain experience. It also allows companies to get cheap labor without a long-term commitment. Of course they provide you training and a bit more supervision than they would provide an experienced worker, but in the end both sides benefit. Often students settle for a summer job at a burger joint when an internship would be much more beneficial.

Even in professions like Doctors that actually require an internship before you can become licensed to practice medicine, it is possible to do something that is like a pre-internship. In his blog MD Journey, Steven Krager writes about his time as an ER scribe which is basically a note taker in an Emergency Room. In an article entitled, How Working as an ER Scribe Prepared Me for Medical School Steven says that the Scribe position was a great help. His duties included, following ER physicians around, completing their charts, reminding them of various tasks they needed to complete, pulling up x-rays and even alerting them to abnormal lab values. He says this experience exposed him to the world of medicine and helped him determine if that was really what he wanted to do. He says it also gave him a tremendous advantage in med school.

Some Advantages of  Being a Medical Scribe

  1. Learn the terminology- Medicine has a language all its own and so working with the terminology on a daily basis before actually entering med school was a major advantage.
  2. Learning to take a patient history- Interviewing and recording a patient’s history is an important part of making a proper diagnosis and as a scribe he was part of that process for hundreds of patients before ever entering med school.
  3. Interpreting x-rays- Working as a scribe he looked at hundreds of x-rays and then recorded the physician’s interpretation into the chart. What better practice could you have in interpreting x-rays?
  4. Extra study outside of books- The experience with live patients was more memorable than just reading the information in a book so, during exams when he was unsure of an answer he was able to think back to his experience as an ER Scribe and remember the treatment or disease.

So if you have an opportunity to participate as an intern while in school it is a highly beneficial thing to do. As a matter of fact you should make it a high priority even if you could make more money working somewhere else. The things you learn and the contacts you make will be well worth it.

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+