Valuable experience: internships in the healthcare sector
Three students share their experiences of internships within organisations in the healthcare sector.
The Diagnosis Internship Network was setup in October 2010 to develop leadership and management skills in health care related organisations. The goal is to foster cross-sector learning and awareness of the broader health care ecosystem from an early stage in medical training.
For DIN applicants we welcome self-selecting students who are highly motivated and ambitious. Consistent feedback from our partner organisations reinforces that students who are self-starters and entrepreneurially minded excel in their placements. As well as allowing students to gain the experience they desire, the internship programme also allows students to develop a supportive peer network of kindred spirits, who meet at Diagnosis Salons and share their experiences.
Here, three students share their experiences:
Irfan Ullah: internship at HSJ
“The [HSJ] internship is a fantastic way for medical students to really understand the changes that are taking place in the NHS, now and in the next few years, which will affect their working lives as doctors. Unfortunately, the medical school curriculum places little emphasis on the leadership, managerial and resource allocation skills that doctors will need to have in the future, to deliver both a clinically effective and cost effective standard of care.
From getting published thre times in the journal, to going to the House of Lords for a Health Select Committee Review and interviewing individuals who are making high-level decisions about the future of the NHS, my time at HSJ was extremely enjoyable to put it mildly. It was an opportunity to learn different skill sets and knowledge and enjoy life away from medicine for a while.
For the most part, what you get out of this internship is what you put in. There are opportunities to spend time on research, writing and the business sides of publishing.
I started my internship just as the healthcare reforms were going through the House of Lords, and this made the experience even more relevant, as the insight and commentary of team members made for interesting discussion about the future of the NHS.
One aspect I really enjoy was the responsibility given from day one, by the editor, Alastair McLellan. I will never forget the moment he came to my desk and asked me to write a story about clinical negligence on my second day at the office. After some investigatory work, I had my news angle and with the guidance of the other journalists, I managed to get an interview with the CEO of the NHSLA and wrote my first journalistic piece, which I am very proud of.”
Irfan Ullah is studying at Barts and The London Medical School
Assad Farooq: internship at KPMG
“I started my elective in healthcare management with KPMG with a scholarly apprehension. I traded my stethoscope for a suit and I was immediately made to feel a valued and important part of my team. I attended meetings with supervisors and immediate colleagues who all embraced my learning needs and provided a clear direction about my role and responsibilities in each project. I was given the privilege to work on the ground as well as being invited to attend senior meetings concerning overall strategy. This gave me a 360 degree perspective about project management and helped me to understand the extent of collaboration required to provide the optimum solution to clients. I was involved in three projects ranging from operations management to GP commissioning and risk management.
KPMG is an institution that prides itself on their renowned training schemes. As a medical student intern you are monitored closely and provided with constant support. I was kindly paired with two colleagues who were my mentors and provided me with constant advice.
This helped me in both an academic sense and in understanding the wider corporate culture. This was complemented by a number of internal courses that I completed through the KPMG Business School. These provided me with a sound foundation about the important skills and theory before I embarked on my projects.
Doctors are being encouraged to develop refreshing and bold service-level strategies by taking the helms of health care management and embracing clinical leadership.
Medical students rarely get the opportunity to embark on such ambitious internships. This opportunity has given me a fresh outlook on the challenges we face as future clinicians and got my mind overflowing with innovative solutions to many of the problems currently faced by the NHS. It was an honour to work on exciting, demanding and high-level healthcare management projects, and being a student of the most-respected and experienced leaders in these fields.”
Assad has recently qualified as a doctor from Imperial College
Amardeep Bains: internship at Candesic
My autumn one-month placement at Candesic Healthcare Consultancy couldn’t, in my opinion, have provided a better experience. I think, especially in my case being a dentist, one normally envisages a life spent drilling and filling after the DF1 and DF2 years. However, after completing my SHO year in oral and maxillofacial surgery I was determined to look outside the box.
What better way to broaden your outlook on healthcare provision than to pursue a work placement with a leading healthcare consultancy firm? Well, that was my rational prior to taking up the position, and I can safely say that in hindsight while writing this review I definitely have no regrets!
From the onset I was made to feel part of the team. I would say I very much hit the deck running in that respect which didn’t really allow me to reflect on working in a new environment- definitely a positive. Given that the particular project I was based on was dental related meant that I could provide useful insight into the workings of the dental industry.
In return, I was able to see how such information was collected, analysed and brought together in manner typical of a healthcare consultancy firm. From interviewing dentists across the UK in person and on the phone as well as contributing key slides towards the final presentation meant that I was an integral part of the team.
The workings of a healthcare consultancy team are very different from what I had been previously used to. Of course, much more time is spent in front of a laptop and there were some challenges and disagreements among members of the highly self-motivated and determined team regarding the conduct and progress of the project. However, I must add at this point that although at the time this did provide an element of frustration, it only served to enhance my team working, communication, leadership and life skills in the long run for which I am grateful. I would like to finish by sharing the highlight of my experience: interviewing the chief dental officer of the United Kingdom at his Dpartment of Health office.
Amardeep is currently sitting American Dental Exams and applying for further dental training in USA.
Medical students or companies wishing to become involved in the DIN should contact email@example.com