My time as a volunteer at UPMC has come to a close. These past three months in the Urology and Urgent Care Clinic have honestly flown by, and it seems like I had really just settled into these positions the past couple weeks. The experience gained, and relationships built have had a significant impact on my future career as a health care provider by giving me invaluable experience with both patients and staff, by broadening my knowledge of medical and administrative procedures, and by enabling me to learn more through outside research on the procedures witnessed. This internship has enabled me to accrue much needed patient contact hours that will strengthen my application to Physician Assistant programs, and has further reinforced my desire to join the healthcare field.
Much like shadowing, this volunteer experience has allowed me to get a better idea of how each member of the UPMC staff contributes to patient care and how each of their roles work together. Everyone from nursing assistants, to patient care technitians, health unit coordinators, nurses, physician assistents, and physicians were all viewed working together to see patients through from admission to discharge. This experience has given me a unique viewpoint of our healthcare system, both the good and bad sides of it, and has put my own contribution to this field into better perspective. The importance of communication with fellow staff members, and with the patients has been a major point that I have taken note of throughout my time in the two units, and hopefully I will be able to put my knowledge of these challenge areas to use by learning from what I have witnessed and improving them as much as possible. While my time as a volunteer has come to an end, my patient care experience is only just beginning, I was recently accepted on as a nursing assistant on the Urology floors, and have begun my training program to become certified as one. This will allow me to gain an even more in depth, hands on patient care experience while expanding my knowledge on current hospital patient care. This blog and time spent with the staff at UPMC Shadyside has been an experience that has opened doors, gained knowledge, and help propel me on my path to PA school. It has been a pleasure documenting it all and I hope my readers have been as inspired reading about my time spent in these units as I have had working there.