Summer health care internships prove valuable
By Scott Bigelow
Summer health care interns - Front row from left: Candace
M. Lowry, Jennifer R. Jackson, Suzette R. Bullard and Charlotte
L. Johnson. Back row from left: Jeremy Demery, Ashley D. Locklear,
Candace L. Sampson, Deidra S. Dial and Clifton D. Dial
"My eyes are open," said UNC Pembroke student Jeremy Demery.
Demery and eight students performed six-week internships with area
hospitals and clinics this summer through the UNCP North
Carolina Health Careers Access Program. It is called the Clinical
Health Summer Program.
An aspiring physician, Demery said he learned everything from telephone
answering to the importance of good patient communications at the Lumberton
"You need to make patients feel comfortable, because sometimes
they won't tell you what you need to know to help them," he said.
The sophomore biology major said he worked hard and learned a lot.
"They work you," Demery said. "It's a small clinic,
so you learn everything."
What Demery learned in a primary care setting surprised him and will
help guide his career.
"The diabetes and hypertension rate is so high in Robeson County,
especially among Lumbees," he said. "I learned that I would
like to be in emergency medicine or pediatrics."
The program gives students a thorough look at careers in health care
that they want to pursue, said Sylvia Johnson, HCAP director.
"The internship program provides a wonderful opportunity for college
students to look at a variety of careers in health care and related
fields while earning a salary for seven weeks," said Director Sylvia
Johnson. "The students get practical experience, exposure to real-life
situations, and the opportunity to make valuable contact with health
care professionals by which mentor relationships could form."
Deidra Dial. A sophomore biology and chemistry major from Pembroke,
Dial interned at Pembroke Pediatrics. She also wants to go to medical
Like Demery, Dial worked in all areas of the clinic including the
front desk, medical records, nurse's station and, finally, job shadowing
the physician's assistant.
"The PA took me under his wing," Dial said. "He let
me observe everything that was going on and discussed patient diagnosis
and treatment with me."
"Finally, I got to go in with patients by myself, and after I
presented what I found to the PA, he would go in and see the patient,"
she said. "He was always teaching, even during down times."
Suzette Bullard. A sophomore biology major (biomedical emphasis)
from Maxton, Bullard wants to be a physician's assistant. She interned
at Robeson Family Practice in Red Springs.
"I would most likely come back to a clinic like that one in Robeson
County," Bullard said. "I like the way it was set up, and
the work is interesting."
Charlotte Johnson. A senior psychology major (at UNC-Chapel
Hill) and Pembroke native, Johnson wants to be a pharmacist. She did
her internship in the pharmacy at Southeastern Regional Medical Center
"It was an opportunity to gain exposure to the hospital pharmacy
setting, and I liked it," Johnson said. "I would recommend
this program, or at least job shadowing, for anyone who believes they
want to go into the health care field."
Jennifer Jackson. A senior biology and chemistry major from
Lumberton, Jackson interned in the radiology department at Southeastern
Regional Medical Center. She wants to go to medical school.
"I did not know that radiologists did so many things," Jackson
said. "The best part was that I was able to observe as the doctors
did the procedures."
"Radiology is the field that sparked my interest, and the internship
has strengthened my desire to go into this field," she said.
Candace Sampson. A sophomore biology major from Pembroke, Sampson
interned at Pembroke Family Practice. She wants to be a physician's
"The professional atmosphere that I worked in gave me great insight
to the part of the medical field that I want to go into," Sampson
said. "We gave a lot of shots to little kids who cried, but they
needed their shots."
Ashley Locklear. A sophomore biology and chemistry major from
Pembroke, Locklear wants to go to medical school. She interned at the
Maxton Medical Clinic.
"I enjoyed talking to patients and learning their concerns,"
Locklear said. "I like being able to help people."
"I also learned to respect what nurses do," she said. "Nurses
are the backbone of patient care. They welcomed me and took time to
help me with procedures."
Candace Lowry. A sophomore biology major (biomedical emphasis)
from Lumberton, Lowry wants to be a pharmacist. She interned at the
pharmacy of Laurinburg's Scotland Memorial Hospital.
"I have worked in retail pharmacy, and a hospital is very different,"
Lowry said. "I liked it a lot, but I like community pharmacy because
you get to interact with people more."
"I made rounds and made IVs, but the most interesting thing was
to observe the pharmacists making chemotherapy treatments," she
Clifton Dial. A senior biology major from Scotland County, Dial
did his internship with the clinical lab at Scotland Memorial Hospital.
He wants to be a lab technologist.
"I rotated through hematology, microbiology and chemistry labs
and the blood bank," Dial said. "I learned a lot, and it gave
me confidence to pursue a clinical lab science program."
The Clinical Health Summer Program is just one example of how the NC-Health
Careers Access Program is helping to increase the number of racial/ethnic
minority and/or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds
to be trained for the health professions
For more information about the program contact: Sylvia Johnson, Director,
NC-HCAP at 910.521.6493.
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