Nursing senior Stephen Winert has his future in the palm of his hand. Thanks to a summer internship, not only does he have a solid job with a major hospital awaiting him after graduation in December, but he is already used to the environment there and knows what medical specialty he wants to consider.
At the end of last year, Winert heard from a close family friend about an internship offered by Houston Methodist Hospital, located in Houston, Texas. Not only would it be paid, but he would also get to work in one of the country’s few hospitals awarded the prestigious “Magnet Recognition” for outstanding nursing.
He decided to try his luck and apply, competing with around two hundred other students for twenty available positions.
“It worked out perfectly,” he says. “I went through the interview process—a phone interview, a Skype interview, and then made it past the cuts.”
Winert stands in his Y gear with Houston Methodist Hospital in the background.
The internship took place in June and July of this year, and Winert was able to fully immerse himself in the typical life of a professional nurse by working alongside nurses in the neurological intensive care unit. For him, the rigorous nature of the program offered a look into the realities of nursing life.
“The great thing about this internship was you are working a full nursing schedule, three days a week, three twelve hour shifts a week, so you’re getting that continuity of care working with the same patients,” he says. “I did many things that nurses do, such as take patients down to get a CT scan or help them with their tubing. There’s so much going on, especially when you see ongoing patient care. There are so many factors that we don’t get to view as student nurses going to the hospital once a week.”
The saying goes that practice makes perfect, and Winert believes that all that practice helped him become a better nurse in many ways.
“I improved a lot through the two months. It felt good to improve, not just with nursing skills, but also with knowledge of the patients’ diagnoses and things like that, but also critical thinking skills, being able to understand how to plan for my patient and better care for them,” he says.
Winert (far left) stands with peers at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Winert’s patients were not the only ones benefiting from him working in the neuro ICU. He also discovered that he loved neurology. “I just really became interested in the brain and how it functions,” he says.
The two months offered Winert many opportunities to hone his skills and get used to the hectic nursing profession. Beyond patient treatment, he also worked on a research project and connected with nursing students from all across the nation. Given that Winert and his wife are both from Texas, the food and the proximity to family were bonuses.
However, the biggest benefit was yet to come.
Houston Methodist also uses the internship to identify possible future employees. Because of his performance during the internship, Winert was offered a position in the neuro ICU after graduation. He accepted, happy to reenter the world that he has already come to love.
“So with this internship, now when I start a job as a registered nurse I’m just going to be a step ahead and be able to jump into it a lot easier,” he says.
For all students interested in internships, Winert has some advice.