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GOOD NEWS: Sul Ross internship sharpens focus for medical career

November 30, 2017 GMT

ALPINE Shadowing health care providers illuminated Emma Downing’s future goals.

Downing, Alpine, a Sul Ross State University post-baccalaureate student, is presently serving an internship at Big Bend Regional Medical Center (BBRMC) through the university’s academic internship program. She is confident the experience will enable her to pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) and ultimately a career as a nurse practitioner.

“Since I started my internship (in September), I have shadowed nurses and other health care providers in both the clinics and the hospital itself,” said Downing. “I have been able to see the everyday interactions the nurses have … and I really like seeing the personal connections (providers) made with patients.”

Downing said working in a medical setting of this size has convinced her to work toward establishing her own practice, either general or specializing in women’s health. “The mid-level provider role is … a good fit for me. Seeing how it is done here has been very beneficial for my future experiences. It is cool to see the communication between providers; they make sure they are going to get it (diagnoses and instructions) right.”

Downing graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Knox College (Galesburg, Ill.), but was drawn to medicine. She was accepted into the Sul Ross internship program while taking leveling classes to prepare for graduate school.

“I am currently enrolled in anatomy and physiology classes, and matching the class content with real experience has been very beneficial,” she said. “I have really enjoyed it (internship) and I plan to apply for a second internship during spring semester.”

She said the BBRMC staff provided a thorough orientation and stressed the importance of all aspects of patient care.

Downing’s internship is one of 40 piloted internships that will be completed through Sul Ross’ Experiential Learning program as of Dec. 1. The program began in February 2016 and is funded through the Title V grant (El Camino Del Lobo Al Exito – Lobo Road to Success).

Jenny Penland, Title V Activity director/director of Experiential Learning, said that the Sul Ross-BBRMC connection continues to grow.

“We started with one intern a year ago and now it has increased to four,” Penland said. “Both parties are very happy with the quality of the interns and the growth of the program.”