Name: Nima (Salomi) Arunima
Major: Biology/ Pre-Med and Religious Studies
Hometown: Rock Falls, Illinois.
Interning with: Gaffey Home Nursing and Hospice
Location: Sterling, Illinois
Position: Hospice Intern
As an intern, I am usually in the office with the skilled hospice nurses and social worker, working on my internship project, reading patient charts, understanding the differences in care for home nursing and hospice patients, and helping around with small tasks around the office. For my internship project, I contact various nursing homes and assisted/ senior living facilities to ask them about their hospice services, so that I can present my supervisor with the stats I have collected. When I am not in the office, I go along with the nurses, social worker, or doctor to hospice (palliative care) patient homes to treat them and to understand in person, the individual roles of these interdisciplinary team members.
This past May term I took the “Interdisciplinary Studies of Palliative Care and Geriatrics” class and it was very informing and eye-opening. Through this class, half of the students received internships and I was one of them!
Since I am a pre-med student, I do not get exposed to this level of patient care until later on or in medical school, and I think that learning how palliative care and geriatrics work would be very important skills to have as a future doctor. These are two fields that are often overlooked and they deserve more attention. Both my parents are pastors and many times they go to visit elderly church members in their homes and I have gone along with them and have seen the way they do this service for these individuals. I am also a religious studies student, so I want to be able to bridge the humanitarian/spiritual aspects- which I saw are very important- with the medical aspects, maybe incorporating them into my career as a physician in the future.
Illinois Wesleyan definitely helped prepare me for succeeding as an intern at Gaffey. In the May term class, along with the regular lectures and lessons, we did simulations with mock patients and I learned how to communicate with them and how to assess their different statuses. IWU also prepared me for this internship because all throughout the past year, we were taught to be respectful individuals in the field, and being an IWU student intern, it is key to represent the school through my actions and work.
Looking forward to my future, from this internship experience in general, I hope to gain a full understanding of how to be a member of the interdisciplinary team and work with patients and other team members in this field. As a student, I hope to continue keeping an open mind to learn more about other fields of medicine so I can broaden my understanding of them. As a professional, regardless of what specialty I decide to go into, I want to remember everything that I have learned thus far, especially communication with patients and their families, and use them when I start working.
Besides the fact that I got the opportunity to have this internship and learn so much first hand, I would say that a rewarding experience as an intern would be seeing the happiness in patients’ eyes- those who are alert- when visiting them. Many times, elderly patients feel lonely, and it is nice to spend time with them, listen to what they have to say, or even do some chores for them. For example, one dementia patient was unable to take her dogs to the groomers for over a year, so the social worker and I decided to take them, which was both a good deed and a fun task!
I think it is important for students to experience internships because it gives them a sense of what the workforce would be like after graduating. Internships are great learning experiences and practice because students will know whether or not they liked that type of work, and whether or not they see certain jobs as potential future careers. I think it is important that all students get to experience internships because not only do they look good on resumes, but they are very valuable, first-hand learning opportunities that students can actually learn from by being in the field and doing work.