Pre-Health Internship Stories

Tricia Serres

Tricia SerresWhen: January 2016
Where: Debbie School, Mailman Center for Child Development, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami, FL
Major: Biology

Tricia headed south for January term and volunteered at the Debbie School, an inclusive elementary school under the pediatric department at the University of Miami. Students at the Debbie school consist of those with physical and mental disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as children without disabilities. A number of therapists work in this school, including physical therapists. Tricia observed the therapy methods and realized how different they were from outpatient orthopedic physical therapy. She saw how individualized the plans were for each student. Many of the students had some form of autism, Down’s syndrome, or cerebral palsy, yet each required an individualized treatment plan. She found the internship informative, and it showed her a different side to physical therapy.

Christine Morrow

Christine Morrow '16 interns at a hospital in FranceWhen: January 2014
Where: l'Hôtel Dieu, Pont l'Abbé, France; Centre Hospitalier de Cornouaille, Quimper, France
Major: Nursing

Christine Morrow spent one month observing in hospitals in France. She spent time in l'Hôtel Dieu, Pont l'Abbé, as well as at the Centre Hospitalier de Cornouaille. Despite the limitations due to language and medical barriers, she was able to serve the hospitals in numerous ways. Some days included leading daily patient activities and teaching them about American and Breton culture. Other days she shadowed nurses, checking vitals and blood sugar levels. Christine enjoyed the rewarding experience because of the many lessons that she learned about French and American approaches to healthcare. She also gained confidence in her French speaking skills, especially with medical vocabulary. As a result, she hopes to take her nursing career abroad in the future.

Anna Solheim

Anna as a nurseWhen: January 2016
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Over J-term, Anna interned at Mayo Clinic in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She took on the role as a registered nurse and had her own patients under the supervision of a preceptor. Additionally, she learned skills such as monitoring and assessing patients with ventilators and administering feeding tubes, and IV medication. The most rewarding part of her internship was the ability to witness the health of children improve. Anna was also able to learn how important teamwork is as a nurse since it makes the nursing unit more effective. Most of all, Anna learned that it’s important for patients to count on the nurses. After this internship, Anna has more confidence as a nurse and can’t wait to enter the medical field.

Rachel Stoddard

Rachel Stoddard

When: January 2016
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland
Exercise Physiology

During January, Rachel discovered her true passion. It started on a whim with a Google search about prosthetics in the army. A few emails later, she secured a two-week internship at Walter Reed. She interned as an observational student in  the following departments: prosthetics and orthotics, traumatic brain injury (TBI), amputee occupational therapy, amputee physical therapy, music therapy, behavioral health (PTSD and Anxiety based), and service/therapy dog training. During this time, she saw many soldiers and heard many inspiring stories. She enjoyed seeing the soldiers work so hard through therapy to become high-functioning civilians once again. Her career aspirations now include working with injured servicemen as a prosthetist.     


Miranda Gumpert

Miranda Gumpert, Joy Harris, Andrew Carlson, and Rob Manges

When: January 2016
Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, WI

Miranda, along with fellow Luther students Joy Harris, Andrew Carlson, and Robert Manges, spent January shadowing physicians at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, WI. In addition to shadowing, she got hands-on experience which included how to make a cast splint, and sutures; laparoscopic surgery techniques; and how to perform an echocardiogram. By exploring many departments, Miranda saw all the different parts that go into providing adequate healthcare. Her time at Gundersen has increased her desire to attend medical school and become a physician.


Emily Osborne

Emily Osborne

When: January 2016
Essentia Health: Erick Peter Person Children's Cancer Center, Duluth, MN
English and Chemistry (Pre-Medicine)

During her J-term, Emily launched a music enrichment volunteer program for the pediatric oncology/hematology department at Erick Peter Person Children’s Cancer Center in Duluth, MN. Emily wrote a grant proposal to get funding, trained and recruited volunteers, created the curriculum, and led music programs for the pediatric cancer patients in both the clinic and hospital. During her time, she gained skills in communicating and connecting with patients and their families. For Emily, it was rewarding to provide a creative outlet for young patients spending too much time in the hospital and clinic. She also learned how important it is to work with various health professionals to give the best care possible. This includes working with physicians and nurses from all departments, therapists, social workers, and others. Finally, she got to see the value of integrative health care services like music therapy, aromatherapy, art therapy, and massage therapy.    

Carter Johnson

Carter Johnson at Gundersen Health System in Lacrosse, WI.When: January, 2015
Where: Gundersen Health System
Major: Biology

Gundersen Health System is recognized as a national leader in medical care with a series of satellite clinics throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. As a hospital, they have innovative policies relating to palliative care and a patient-centered approach to medicine. Over the month of January, Carter spent most of his days shadowing resident physicians as they rotated through their different services in the hospital and clinic at La Crosse, Wisconsin. He was also able to shadow physicians in any department he was interested in learning more about, such as pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatrics, palliative care, surgery, and many others. One of Carter’s favorite aspects of the internship was getting to teach sessions with his mentor, Dr. Kyla Lee, where he learned the basics of an EKG/ECG report, how to suture incisions, and an introduction to laparoscopic surgery techniques. Throughout his experience, Carter was amazed and inspired to witness every physician listen to and address the concerns of their patients and families, no matter the urgency of the situation. Leaving the internship with support from all of the physicians he collaborated with, Carter feels he has all the encouragement he needs to continue down the path of becoming a physician himself someday.

Laura Bosshard

Laura BosshardWhen: January, 2015
Where: OSI Physical Therapy, NovaCare Rehabilitation, HealthEast Home Care, and Woodwinds Hospital
Major: Athletic Training

During a recent J-Term, Laura interned with a variety of care facilities focusing on physical therapy. OSI Physical Therapy and NovaCare Rehabilitation, both outpatient physical therapy centers, work on long-term physical therapy plans for patients who have had surgery, as well as those with chronic pain. Laura also worked with HealthEast Home Care which sends a physical therapist (PT) directly to the home of patients. Often these patients were elderly or recovering from surgery and were not yet mobile enough to make it to an outpatient physical therapy clinic. At Woodwinds, the PT's worked with patients who were only one or two days out from surgery and had not left the hospital yet. During her internship Laura observed the work of the PT's and got to see the progression of various injury rehabilitation cases and methods. Her favorite part of this experience was getting to see the different stages that patients go through when recovering from an injury. It was always exciting and very rewarding to see the patients make progress from visit to visit. After graduating from Luther, Laura plans to attend graduate school in order to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Because of this internship, Laura knows that this is the right career path for her.

Ben Hermann

Learn about Ben Hermann and his internship with with O.R.A. Rock Valley Physical Therapy.When: January, 2015
Where: O.R.A. Rock Valley Physical Therapy
Major: Exercise Physiology and Athletic Training

Ben spent his internship this past January in Moline, Illinois working for a physical therapy company called O.R.A. Rock Valley Physical Therapy. There he shadowed Steve, the owner of the company, and other physical therapists as they helped patients through their different injuries. Ben's primary task was to observe Steve's interactions with patients and examine how he diagnosed and determined rehabilitation for the different injuries. In addition to shadowing, Ben was also given the opportunity to help some of the patients through their routines and exercises. He really enjoyed helping the patients in such a direct way because it gave him insight into what he will be doing later in life. One patient they saw had terrible sciatica pain and the doctors couldn't use surgery to repair it because of some other complications. Although Ben and the other physical therapists weren't able to help this man fully recover because of the severity of his sciatica, they were able to help reduce a lot of the pain. This showed Ben that he could really change a life by helping someone grapple with chronic pain and providing care in ways that other doctors couldn't. This experience only made Ben positive that this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Ben can't wait until he graduates from physical therapy school and can start helping people overcome their injuries.

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Student meeting with Career Counselor.

If you are trying to acquire an internship like one of these, make sure to stop by the Career Center!