As professors in healthcare management programs, we already know the value of internships for students. Experiential learning remains the best way to learn important skills, such as professionalism, communication skills, confidence, and—perhaps most critically—self-knowledge.
But did you know that hosting interns is an excellent way to improve your organization? It’s true! Here are the top five reasons you should recruit an intern for your organization.
Number 5: Interns Help You See Things Differently
Perspective from anyone outside of your team often inspires new ways of thinking. Energetic and enthusiastic interns who are unfamiliar with day-to-day operations can be great additions to your brainstorming sessions. Be sure to encourage them to speak up in meetings. Interns love helping out with new ideas, so it’s a win-win!
Number 4: Build Momentum for Long-Neglected Projects
Some projects are important, but not urgent. Assigning an important project to an intern is a great way to get a long-neglected project started. By giving interns some structure and a little of your time, you can build momentum for solving really important issues.
Number 3: Create Brand Awareness
There are long-term benefits of offering internships on a regular basis. Relationships with your local university healthcare management program can create excellent word-of-mouth marketing. Interns help build your reputation by turning university healthcare management programs into productive recruiting sources.
Number 2: Mentorship Opportunities
Interns provide opportunities for your current employees to learn how to mentor. Oversight of an intern can be both personally and professionally fulfilling for early-career associates who may be ready to move to a management role but have not had much hands-on management experience. Senior associates can “mentor the mentor,” providing the mentor the opportunity to work on developing lower-level associates and interns, alike.
Number 1: Interns May Become Great Associates
Many health care organizations use student internships to test out new working relationships. Very commonly, organizations recruit their interns as early-career associates. Students become familiar with your organization and make some valuable contacts, and you get to find out whether an intern is a fit for your organization before hiring them.
If you are interested in placing a graduate or undergraduate student in an internship in your organization anywhere in the ACHE WFC region, please reach out to us.
Lesley Clack, ScD, CPH
Associate Professor and Chair
Florida Gulf Coast University
ACHE WFC Board Member, Faculty Representative
Zachary Pruitt, PhD, MHA, CPH, FACHE
Associate Professor and Director of Community Practice
University of South Florida – Tampa
ACHE WFC Board Member, Immediate Past President