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Thursday, July 1, 2010

HCAP: UNCP students perform health care internships

Nine UNC Pembroke students performed Clinical Health Internships this summer through the North Carolina Health Career Access Program (HCAP).

It was a diverse group of students who, like Nyeisha Bradley, dared to test uncharted waters. Bradley, whose ambition is to become a flight medic, worked on a Robeson County ambulance.

1st row from left: Sharissa Dice, Caitlin Bullard, Daisy Irra and Nyeisha Bradley; 2nd row from left: Ismael Abdelaziz, Elicia Dellinger, Nicholas Locklear, Janki Patel and Lauren Marshall

1st row from left: Sharissa Dice, Caitlin Bullard, Daisy Irra and Nyeisha Bradley; 2nd row from left: Ismael Abdelaziz, Elicia Dellinger, Nicholas Locklear, Janki Patel and Lauren Marshall

Black Line

“Every morning before going out, we checked the truck, medicines and equipment,” she said.

After the routines were performed, the excitement began. Bradley went everywhere and saw it all.

“I saw a lot of Robeson County,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to get in this job.

“You might get a call for one thing, and it turns out completely different,” Bradley said. “You have to be ready.”

“The goal of the internships is to make students ready for careers in health care,” said Sylvia Johnson, UNCP HCAP director.

“This was a very diverse group that was exposed to a variety of experiences in health care,” Johnson said. “An internship with the EMS and with an optometric clinic were firsts for our program.”

Elicia Dellinger did an internship with Pembroke Optometric Clinic and hopes to attend optometry school. From clinic to surgery, she had an eye opening experience.

“Cataract surgery was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Dellinger said. “But I don’t think I want to become an ophthalmologist who does surgery all day.

“I want more one-on-one relationships with patients,” she continued. “I want to know more about all my patients.”

Dellinger, who is from Pembroke, said she learned a lot and the internship was a success.

Ismael Abdelaziz grew up in Jerusalem and wants to be a dentist.

“I had a good internship with Dr. (Jeff) Collins and Dr. (Jessica) Sampson,” Abdelaziz said. “At the end, they offered me the option to volunteer in the office.”

The junior, who resides in Lumberton, said he learned there is more to dentistry than drilling and filling.

“The children can be a problem, and we had one child who cried the whole time,” Abdelaziz. “The dentists are welcoming and very good with patients.”

Daisy Irra, whose parents emigrated from Puerto Rico, saw every aspect of general medical practice over six weeks at the Parkton Medical Clinic.

“I had to learn a lot very quickly,” Irra said. “I took the laptop for patient work-ups before the doctor saw the patients. This saves the doctor a lot of time.”

From minor surgery to routine check-ups and tests to doing rounds in a nursing facility and a wound clinic, Irra was challenged by every aspect of general medicine, including the business side.

“The doctor owns her own business, and she said it was very, very hard to learn the business side, especially working with insurance companies,” Irra said. “With health care reform, there is more to learn.”

Participants in the 2010 internships were:

  • Ismael Abdelaziz – a junior from Lumberton, N.C., interned at Collins, Lowery and Sampson Dentistry
  • Nyeisha Bradley – a senior from Greensboro, N.C., interned at Robeson County Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
  • Caitlin Bullard – a junior from Pembroke, interned with Pembroke Pediatrics
  • Elicia Dellinger – a junior from Pembroke, interned with Pembroke Optometric Center
  • Sharissa Dice – a sophomore from Havelock, N.C., interned at Waters Drugs
  • Daisy Irra – a junior from St. Pauls, N.C., interned with Parkton Family Medical Center
  • Nicholas Locklear – a junior from Maxton, N.C., interned with The Medicine Shoppe
  • Lauren Marshall – a senior from Troutman, N.C., interned for Southeastern Regional Medical Center
  • Janki Patel – a junior from Fayetteville, N.C., interned at Robeson Health Care Corp.

Learning and career exploration are what HCAP Summer Clinical Health Internships are about, Johnson said.

“The Summer Internship is a time for outstanding students to find themselves and their place in health care,” said 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.”

Johnson thanked the participating agencies and professionals, some who participated in HCAP internships themselves.

“I’d like to thank the people and organizations that sponsored our interns,” Johnson said. “They take time out of their day to help future health care professionals.

“HCAP’s mission is to grow health care professionals locally,” she continued. “UNCP and HCAP have been very successful in this endeavor with the help of the local professional community.

For more information about the N.C. Health Careers Access Program at UNCP, please call 910.521.6673 or email hcap@uncp.edu.

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