LINK: Leading INTERNSHIPS For New Knowledge
The Leading Internships for New Knowledge (LINK) program is an important piece of the Animas High School curriculum and culture in Durango, Colorado, as it exemplifies our belief in the value of student-centered, personalized instruction that connects learning to the adult world. LINK takes students beyond the classroom walls in order to clarify personal, college and career goals while teaching invaluable professional skills and life lessons. LINK allows all juniors to select a company and profession that they feel interested in, and Animas sends them off to mentors in which each student will spend 90 hours or around 30-40 a week with.
Welcome to Mercy Regional Medical Center, southwest Colorado's largest and most technologically advanced medical facility. Continuing the legacy of care that began in 1882 when the Sisters of Mercy opened Durango's first hospital, Mercy is a not-for-profit, full service, acute care hospital designated as a Level III trauma center. As a not-for-profit medical center, Mercy is committed to improving the health and wellness of the communities it serves and the individuals who receive care at the hospital. The new Mercy Regional Medical Center opened in the Grandview area of Durango in June, 2006. It includes state-of-the-art medical technology in an environment designed to promote a sense wellness and healing.
LINK Anticipation and Preparation
When it came time to start exploring potential internships for our upcoming L.I.N.K program, I knew relatively quickly as to what I wanted to try out. When I decided that I wanted to land my internship in the medical field I proceeded to explore potential companies that I was interested in. Though because there aren't a ton of medical centers here in Durango, I ended up contacting Mercy Regional Medical Center, and formally asked if I could shadow the pulmonary and respiratory department. I was lucky that I only needed to contact one company before being accepted, and didn't hear the unfortunate "no" many times. I would say the my interest all started when I was younger, and my experience growing up with plenty of medical issues, including severe asthma. Getting to see how the pulmonologists and the respiratory therapists worked. I believe that this is where my interest originated and it is the reason as to why I chose this profession for my LINK internship. I hope that this experience can help me make a college decision easier, hopefully it allows me to see more of what the day to day is. I feel that while it is a hospital, and while it will be hard to bring something to the company, I believe that I can bring the culture excellence here at Animas out into the community of Durango. To show the community of Durango and the people at Mercy what Animas can produce and how they can be important in this society.
Prior to entering LINK, I seemed very confident in that I was pretty much set on the medical field, specifically in pulmonology and respiratory. I felt that when it came to medicine, my interest peaked with the lungs. I am very fortunate that I was given this opportunity to intern with a specialist and feel that it will play a big part in guiding my career path. On May 1st, the first day of my internship, I felt very prepared, and I believe that this is due to my own knowledge of the lungs from what doctors have told me, along with the skills and knowledge that I learned during an anatomy class that I took first semester this year. This knowledge provided a ton of help during my three weeks at Mercy Regional Medical Center, as it allowed me to know what the doctors and therapists were talking about and looking at, specifically on x-rays or during bronchoscopies. After completing my internship, I feel I have come out with many more skills that I didn't have before. For example, I now know how to determine lung volumes and peak flows, I know how to read a ventilator, and how C-PAP and BI-PAP works. I also know how to read an x-ray depending on the condition that the patient has. One of the most beneficial abilities that I learned really seemed to stand out, and that was being able to deal with death. While all medical professions must deal with this, if a patient is in the ICU for example, as a respiratory therapist, or pulmonologist you will be the one to "pull the plug," because as one of my mentors said, "If you are not breathing, you aren't doing much of anything."
Because I am still a high school student, I wasn't able to perform any patient care let alone get much hands on experience, though this was a challenge, I also feel it was how I grew the most from my internship. This is because I was able to step back observe, and take everything in. I was lucky that my mentors were able to guide me through what they were doing and why they were doing it. It allowed for not only a cool experience, but a great learning opportunity as well. One thing that I thought was very interesting was the amount of patients I met that were excited to see high school students get out into the real world, especially in the medical field. Even a few of the people who mentored me were surprised, as they had never heard of such a thing. One thing that I tried to think about during my LINK was how can I provide something to this company. To me, this was a very hard question as it is difficult to bring something to a hospital run by a much higher corporation. This meant that it was hard to complete a project that gave back to the company, not without it going through Centura first. Though I hope that while I was there I was able to make a good enough impression on all the people I met by demonstrating my interest and knowledge in the field, and being mature enough to be in such a well educated place. By doing this hopefully, Mercy Regional Medical Center will look forward to the next set of interns coming from Animas High School!
When it comes to my future and education, I made sure I got the most information as I could from my mentors. From both the respiratory therapists, and the few pulmonologists I met. From what I gathered, I feel this is definitely a path that I am interested in following. A few of the respiratory therapists mentioned that while college only looked like a two year associates degree, it provided a good job and a good starting place in case you wanted to continue going to school and become a doctor. I feel that after getting to see what respiratory therapy is like, it is a good step for me to go for, and hopefully follow that up by going to school to become a pulmonologist. After all, It has been so rewarding to have this experience because without it, I would still be contemplating potential careers, this has allowed me to narrow down the direction in which I am looking to head in.
Brochure Front and Back
Above you can see the cover of the brochure and the very back, It mentions what Respiratory Therapists do, and what LINK focuses on.
Above features the inside of the brochure and what it looks like when you open it up. I goes through all of what I learned, my experience, and the reason as to why I chose my LINK.