The St. Kate’s Internship Program connects students to high-impact professional experiences to enhance students’ academic studies and provide insight into their career paths.
Maddi Bitzer is a junior studying Echocardiography with a minor in Leadership Studies. She speaks to us about her experience interning at Axis Medical Center and how it helped her get out of her comfort zone. She hangs out with her awesome pet tortoise when she is not studying or working.
What attracted you to apply for this position?
“First of all, I wanted to apply for an internship related to healthcare because I wanted to do something with my major in mind. What drew me to this one was Namibia Little. She was helpful because she explained the process and helped me bridge the gap between the company and me. She helped with doing things to apply, like working on a resume. When I talked to her, she got me and my supervisor to have a Google meet conversation with them. He wanted to help me, and I wanted to have cardiac experience. He was able to help advocate for me at different clinics. He was good at giving me that push I needed.
Was the healthcare field busy?
“A bit. Not as bad as I thought. It’s a small clinic, so people had to wait for the provider. This other intern and I felt like we weren’t learning anything. It’s kind of like I said before. At the moment, you might feel like you’re not learning something, but then you look at it from afar or the bigger picture. “Oh, I did learn something, and I learned this about myself and this experience I did this and did that. It’s like a stepping stone.”
What about working there [Axis Medical Center] surprised you the most?
“Honestly, it was cool to understand the ins and outs of how a clinic works. When you go behind the scenes into something you’re used to being a patient in, it is a completely different experience. So, when I watched my doctor after interning at the clinic, it was weird being on that side. It’s just different being a patient versus a healthcare provider.”
How has your experience at St. Kate’s helped prepare you for this role?
“I’m doing a leadership minor, and I’ve been taking some leadership classes. St. Kate’s has a way of building up women to be leaders. They have prepared me through these classes and encouraged me to take the classes, take a risk, and do a minor in leadership. I wanted to do it for my own sake as well. I’m a quiet or shy leader; I jump in if needed. Or I will do something or lead if no one else will do it.
The type of healthcare job I want to be is an echocardiographer, which deals with scanning the heart with ultrasound. I’m interested in roles like being the head or supervisor. St. Kate’s and all their classes have been good for encouraging risks, especially the leadership classes. Managing within a Diverse Workforce was great.”
What was the most challenging thing about the experience at Axis?
“Well, I struggled with having time with my supervisor because he was busy most of the time. He needed an assistant because I could not have time with him; he was my primary contact at the site. I would sit at my computer and do other things because I had nothing to do when I finished completing the tasks he gave me. I got plenty of experience observing, visiting the room with the doctor, and experiencing culture shock. So, I guess having a specific person that wasn’t the role of my supervisor, he’s an epidemiologist, but he also had other positions. Since he was very active, I could not get certain things for my review.
What would you advise students about having this internship?
“Know that any internship will stretch you out of your comfort zone. You’re going to learn a lot. It might feel like you’re not learning at the time, but you’ll learn many different lessons, including about yourself. When I started, I had a set way of how I wanted something to go. I had a specific structure I used to plan things out in my head. My supervisor told me I needed to drop everything. I was acting stubborn. I needed to step out of my comfort zone, get out of my head, and stop with expectations. After that, things got better. I learned more about healthcare and learned about myself.
If you want to be a leader, you have to do that [step out of your comfort zone].”