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Students Gain Valuable Experience in the Lowcountry AHEC Summer Internship Program

Participants in the 2023 Lowcountry AHEC Summer Internship Program pose with their certificates at the closing ceremony.

Nine high school and college students who completed the Lowcountry AHEC Summer Internship Program gathered last August to give presentations and discuss their experiences in a closing ceremony at the Lowcountry AHEC facility in Walterboro. Family and friends of participants were invited to attend and celebrate their accomplishments, while learning more about the different opportunities each student had during their summer internships.

The Lowcountry AHEC Summer Internship Program is offered to graduating high school seniors and college students interested in a health career. Accepted students are placed at a healthcare facility in the Lowcountry AHEC region and are required to complete 40 hours of work or observation, attend virtual and in-person meetings with their AHEC program coordinators and then prepare a presentation on their summer experience at the conclusion of their internship. 

“The Summer Internship Program is an important piece of our Health Careers Program,” said Diane Mathews, Executive Director of Lowcountry AHEC. “This program allows students to shadow health professionals in a clinical setting and by doing so, they can clarify which health profession they are interested in and therefore take the college classes they need to move forward with that choice.”

The 2023 summer intern cohort included student placements at Allendale County Hospital, Colleton Medical Center, Hampton Regional Medical Center and MUSC Health Regional Medical Center – Orangeburg. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience,” said Genesis F. a recent graduate of Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College, during her presentation. Genesis had the opportunity to shadow a CNA (certified nursing assistant) last summer. “Working at MUSC Health – Orangeburg has helped me explore what a real job is like and how the hospital operates. This internship provided me with the opportunity to acquire practical knowledge, communication skills and technical skills that I’m confident I’ll [continue to] improve in the future.”

Genesis F. presents to the group during the 2023 LC AHEC Summer Internship Closing Ceremony.
Genesis F. presents on her internship to the group at the closing ceremony.

Tremaine H., a senior at the Orangeburg High School for Health Professions who was also placed at MUSC Health – Orangeburg for his internship, learned new terminology and quickly adjusted to the fast-paced work environment while observing lead nurses, RNs and monitor technicians. “You need to be able to multi-task and operate under high stress,” said Tremaine. “I have been given a newfound appreciation for all medical professions.”

Tremaine H. (center) poses with his certificate.

Tremaine described during his presentation how important communication skills and maintaining a positive attitude was in providing a good overall patient experience. “Attitude is just as important as work when you’re dealing with patients. You can be the perfect nurse, but if your attitude is not great, no one will want to be cared for by you.” 

Heading into her internship at Colleton Medical Center, Veronica I. was nervous about how she would manage the long, 12-hour shifts her preceptor worked. “I now know that I can do it,” said Veronica while presenting to the group. “I feel very confident that I can reach my end goal and that this is the career I want to go into.”

A student at USC-Beaufort, Veronica was grateful for the opportunity to network with other health professionals and gain insight into her future career. “[They] taught me about college and what to expect in nursing,” said Veronica. “I was given a lot of encouragement, which made me feel nice.” 

Veronica I. shares what a typical day at her summer internship looked like during the 2023 LC AHEC Summer Internship Closing Ceremony
Veronica I. shares what a typical day at her summer internship looked like during her presentation.
One of the most important lessons USC-Salkehatchie nursing major Keyanna R. learned during her internship at Allendale County Hospital was the importance of interprofessional collaboration. “Teamwork in a hospital setting is vital,” said Keyanna. “CNAs, RNs, doctors – they all work together closely to help the patient.”
Keyanna R. (center) poses with her certificate.

She also recognized and emphasized the need for local care in rural communities during her presentation. “The significance and importance of having a healthcare institution in the lowcountry area is critical,” said Keyanna. “To have care locally can be the difference between life and death.” 

Lowcountry AHEC is grateful for its community partners for opening their facilities for student placements. 

“We depend on our partners to allow our students to shadow health professionals in the clinical setting,” said Mathews. “Thank you to our summer internship partners; without you we could not develop successful future healthcare professionals.”

For more information on summer internships, visit the Regional Summer Opportunities page on the Lowcountry AHEC website.  


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