One of the most effective and worthwhile methods a premed student can gain experience in the field of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, public health, and medicine is through an internship opportunity.
Along with academic study, an internship or clinical experience affords you the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge you’ve developed through your studies into practice. There is a wide array of healthcare-related opportunities that exist in the world of internships – from research, scientific writing, and medical technology, to pharmaceutical sales, wellness programs, consulting, and manufacturing.
One of the hallmark advantages of an internship experience is the opportunity to build valuable career skills. Within the field of healthcare, students seeking to develop their knowledge of the field, build connections, improve their medical school application, and have the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research should consider undertaking an internship opportunity.
When it comes to skills, we will discuss below the top 5 skills you can build through a healthcare internship from Virtual Internships.
Learn Networking Skills
An internship in the medical field allows you the opportunity to develop your professional network within your intended career field. By working in a company or other organization, you have the chance to work under experienced healthcare professionals. Sometimes, these professionals have decades of experience, and might even be leaders in their respective areas of work or research. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you should not allow yourself to pass up.
Learning from those within your career pathway can be an incredibly valuable opportunity, and give you the chance to better understand your possible career prospects. If you’re not sure if you want to focus on opening your own private practice, joining the corporate world, or focusing on medical non-profit work, an internship is one of the best ways to try this out for yourself! The people you meet at your internship will prove to be excellent contacts both during your work with them, and as you advance through your medical career and keep those relationships going.
Gain Researching Skills & Publishing Opportunities
It goes without saying that research is one of the most sought after, and most competitive, areas of modern healthcare and medicine all throughout the world. Endless amounts of investing capital, grants, and government funding are pumped into the healthcare field each year for research. In the United States alone, the government allocates roughly $41 billion per year to medical research. It’s estimated the global healthcare sector will be worth $10 trillion dollars by 2022.
If you feel your career aspects will bring you down the path of research, consider enrolling in a healthcare internship to begin exercising your research skills in a real-world environment. Publishing articles, blogs, website updates, and having the opportunity to join innovative research teams in various healthcare areas are all opportunities that can await you in a healthcare internship.
Healthcare interns are frequently sought out to participate in research, where they bring their own unique experiences and insight into an already qualified team of seasoned researchers. Most professionals advise all undergraduate students to participate in at least one published research project or article prior to completing their application to medical school. An internship in the healthcare field can give you that opportunity, and so much more.
Strengthen Your Quantitative & Analytical Skills
Those who possess strong quantitative and analytical skills know how to use numbers and data to create suggestions, overcome challenges, decipher key unknowns, and further understand the issues at hand. It is a given that anyone in the medical field should possess a strong ability in the realms of quantitative thinking and data analysis.
When companies face challenges, data and numbers can be an integral part in understanding how to best move forward. As an intern, almost any opportunity in a medical-related internship will require you to work with data in some form or another. Quantitative and analytical skills are classified as “hard skills”, meaning they are best learned and developed through routine practice.
While you can work to develop these two skill areas on your own time through courses and tutorials, one of the most beneficial (and likely most interesting) methods is learning through the completion of key projects through your internship.
Sharpen Your Problem-Solving Skills
As a future healthcare professional, chances are you’ve encountered many problems that you’ve had to work diligently to solve. All sorts of problems can arise in the classroom, in the lab, in your work-life balance, and will also certainly arise daily throughout your career. There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to problem solving, and building your skills in this area, but the key things to focus on relating to your approach to how you handle stressful situations and develop creative and effective solutions.
All professionals who want to succeed must have strong problem-solving skills, and this is especially true in the medical field. In a healthcare internship, you will undertake a day-to-day experience in the realm of an organization or business, and get to view the problems faced by these organizations and their employees. How does a struggling hospital cope with the onset of a global pandemic? How does a non-profit deal with the loss of funding and seek alternative routes for capital? How does a researcher looking at cutting-edge gene therapy cope when someone beats them to the punch?
As an intern, all of these can become your day-to-day learning experience, and help you in developing new approaches to various problems in the industry.
Polish Your Collaboration & Teamwork Skills
No doctor, or any healthcare professional for that matter, ever works alone. When we enter the professional world of medicine, we become valuable members of our team, tasked with some of the most important roles in the world today. In order to be a standout medical professional, you cannot forget the importance of being a great team player.
Knowing your role within a team, how to best perform this role to ensure the success of the team, and how to support the success of your teammates are incredibly vital life skills. When it comes to being a collaborator in the medical field, you must learn the importance of taking feedback and understanding the areas in which you both excel and need to improve.
In a healthcare internship, you will have the opportunity to work under experienced professionals who can provide you with incredibly valuable personal feedback. Getting critiqued on areas such as your research, writing, communication, time management, and problem solving can help you enhance these skills before you apply for or enter medical school.
By the time you get to the stage of entering medical school, trust us when we tell you that you will want to have these skills already as finely polished as possible.