Hear about the Kaiser Summer Youth Internship Program from an SRA Scholar!

By Edylwise Romero, SRA class of 2015, Carleton College

My name is Edylwise Romero. I graduated this past spring from Alameda Science & Technology Institute, an Early College High School. I spent most of my summers in high school taking college classes and helping my mom take care of the family. Now that our situation has calmed down a little bit, I’m preparing to head off to Carleton College, where I have a chance to pursue a college degree, thanks to Student Rising Above (SRA).

With the help of SRA, I applied for Kaiser Permanente’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Despite the limited time I had to apply and the extensive application, I was able to turn it all in, just in time. Before I had the chance to fret about whether or not I would be accepted, I got an email about an interview. Yay, interview!!! Wait, interview?! Luckily, SRA Career Development team’s Kendall Jaramillo was able to fit in the time to call me and prep me.

Soon I began taking the necessary steps to be officially a Kaiser Permanente employee.

The internship began June 15th and I spent the first day with volunteers and other interns at our New Employee Orientation (NEO). We learned about various things like compliance, safety, and what being a Kaiser Employee is all about.

The following day, was officially my first day in the OB/GYN department. At first, I was extremely intimidated by everyone around me. As I toured the building with my supervisor, I met many employees and meekly said my “hellos.” That’s what happened in the first couple of days; me walking around doing the tasks I was assigned and shyly saying, “hi,” to my new co-workers. After the first week, I learned, figured out the flow and finally got the hang of my new environment.

I was very open to new opportunities. I wasn’t picky about the task they gave me and was more than happy to help, whether that’s making copies for the receptionists or putting up wall decals. As long as I was productive, I was content. These tasks were nice to have, especially when I’m taking breaks from my projects.

I also had a few projects assigned to me by my supervisor and the service managers. The three main ones were: New Employee Binders, California Prenatal Screening Program 1st and 2nd Trimester Error Rate Project and Exam Room Pamphlet Standardization. I designed and created binders that can be helpful for new employees coming into our department, made efforts to decrease our error rate on the California Prenatal Screening Program 1st and 2nd Trimester forms, and worked with Physicians to reduce the amount of pamphlets in each room so that we could have a standard set of pamphlets. Through out the internship I also got the chance to shadow and interview various Kaiser Permanente employees. I learned about different positions available in the healthcare industry and was given an insight of just how many paths are available to me.

During my time in the OB/GYN clinic, I truly saw the importance of TEAMWORK and how much Kaiser Permanente cares about their patients. Because our department is very fast paced and always extremely busy, we don’t have room for holes. When someone is off, we have to fill in that hole. Sometimes I would see the employees doing their best to fill in that hole, even if meant doing the job of two people.

I’ve attended staff development meetings as well as procedure meetings. I was most taken aback with just how much each Kaiser employee CARES about her or his patients. They discussed incidents when they felt that they weren’t able to give the best experience for the patient and problems that arose throughout the day. In the meetings they spent quite sometime ensuring that they had a solution or a way to improve their patients’ care and experience. These employees—who have a hectic day, all day everyday—just really take it to heart when their patients are not satisfied. It really touched my heart, and I wish to be like them one day, truly caring about the quality of service I provide.

I’m sad to say goodbye to my team and will definitely remember all that they’ve taught me, and the kindness they have shown me.

For students seeking healthcare related internships, I would definitely recommend Kaiser Permanente’s Summer Youth Education Program. They would learn a great deal from just being in a healthcare environment, especially if they are observant. Interns will also find life skills in our education days every Friday, whether it’s public speaking from Toastmasters, financial literacy, or medical terminology. Like many other articles you may read for tips on successful internships, the internship experience is what you make of it. If you don’t take advantage of the resources available, then you won’t be able to experience the program 100%. Be flexible when looking for internships and during the internship, because you never know unless you try. If you have the opportunity to have lunch or sit with the person in charge of your internship, take advantage of it. It’s amazing how much experience they have and how much they are willing to share.

One more thing. Internships are really valuable. Many students are looking for them and investing time to do the applications. There was someone else who had the same qualifications as you but they chose you. If you are chosen for the internship, that means that the selection committee expects you to be the best. So, live up to the expectations, go beyond them, because you’re representing that company.