(1) My STEP signature project consisted of an 8-week internship at a long-term care, skilled nursing facility; otherwise known as a nursing home. I spent the first 3 weeks with the admissions director, learning the ins and outs of getting patients in the facility, the next 3 weeks I spent in the business office learning how the facility earns and collects their money. The final 2 weeks I spent with the administrator learning what the job encompasses.
(2) This internship was my first time working in a professional, business/healthcare environment. I gained many valuable lessons that will influence my decisions later in my career. I have also gained a greater understanding of my major. I realized that a long-term care facility was far more complex than I had originally assumed it to be. Sitting in with the individuals that worked in the facility, I realized that they had to work together with not only the people they worked with and those inside the building but also, their corporate company, county officials, insurance companies, and other outside health care providers and suppliers.
As I spent more time in their offices, my biggest transformation was that I gained a greater understanding of how to communicate effectively. I had to communicate with others beside who I worked with, that were outside of the facility, whether it was through telephone, fax, email, or face to face. I would also have to interact with the residents in the facility. Each interaction was different and I learned to adapt to the situation.
(3) Since I began my internship with the admissions director who also was the facilities social worker, I quickly realized that I would be interacting with residents and potential future residents quite often. An admissions director is responsible for obtaining the insurance information for potential future residents. As part of my role as an intern I would often have to contact these people or their families or the insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid to verify the personâ€™s coverage. As part of the insurance aspect I would also have to obtain signatures from the resident themselves or their power of attorney. I quickly realized and as a result learned that I would have to be able to explain to the resident, in terms they would understand or in ways in which they could hear me what I was obtaining their signature for.
The next part of my internship was in the business office. One of the business officeâ€™s tasks is to manage some of the residentâ€™s money in a resident trust account. As part of this tasks I would have to explain to the residents that they could have money at the facility and answer and questions they had about it. I would often have to contact the bank or the social security office as part of handling resident trusts. Once a week I would code invoices that were to be sent to the corporate company. At the end of the month I would work alongside the business office manager to reconcile the accounts.
The final part of my internship was spent with the administrator, since healthcare administration is what I plan on doing after graduation. The administrator has to be in contact with many people all throughout the day. I went outside of the facility with the administrator and marketer a few times to local hospitals and even a few churches in hopes that these efforts would bring future residents to the facility. I was also able to observe a mock survey, in which the corporate company would come in and help prepare the facility for state inspections. The administrator also went through many of the regulations that are required of a facility, and every day I updated the labor tracker.
(4) I believe this transformation will be greatly beneficial to me in the future because I still plan on pursuing the career of healthcare administration. As an administrator in any environment, I know I will have to be able to communicate effectively with many people in order to do my job. All in all, I believe what I have learned in this internship was valuable hands on experience that will benefit me in the future whether that will be everyday interactions, in a job interview or in my future job.