STEP Reflection: Nurse Aide Internship

Name: Taylor Howe

Type of Project: Internship

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

For my STEP Signature Project, I choose to complete an internship at a retirement facility in Cincinnati Ohio. I became a nurse aide to better understand the elderly population and what their life looks like on a day-to-day basis. As an aspiring Occupational Therapist, it is important to me to understand the people I will be working with from many aspects and viewpoints to ensure the best care possible. As a Nurse Aide, I spent a lot one-on-one time with resident’s providing personal care in the form of showering, toilet-ing, dressing, medication reminders, transportation, dietary needs, therapy and social activities.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

One transformation I experienced because of this STEP program was in regards to my perspective on life and what I value. The retirement facility I worked at was home to many very successful residents. The residents here had achieved many groundbreaking accomplishments throughout their lifetime that had a profound historical impact. Actresses on broadway, some of the first women to obtain a doctorate degree, the senator of Ohio- each have made remarkable contributions to the world we know today. By getting to spend intentional time with each resident on a consistent basis, I had the opportunity to hear more about their lives. As a student still in college, many of my thoughts were surrounding my projected future and future success. My mind was swamped with worries of GPA, grad school admissions, career success, etc. When asking the residents about what they valued most and their personal lives, everything they said was related to life, joy, love, relationships and experiences had. These conversations have caused me to view my own life more holistically and has made me question what it is I want to speak of at the end of my days. What will I be most proud of? What will I have done in my life and who will I impact because of it?

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

About 30 residents lived on the floor that I worked on over the summer. The relationships formed between each resident, each nurse and my fellow nurse-aides were instrumental to my experience at this internship. I learned a lot directly from serving the residents. I have developed a better understanding of patience and humility by performing jobs that are deemed ‘unimportant’ and ‘unglamorous’. Performing these tasks have reminded me of the independent skills of living I frequently take for granted. This has enabled me to develop a firm belief in the importance of Occupational therapy and how it can impact someone’s sense of independence.  One event that had a tremendous impact on me this summer was when one of the residents that I was most close to passed away during my shift. I have never experienced anything like that day in my life and it spurred me to really consider my life and what I’m doing and if what I am pursuing is worth it.

The relationship I built with my boss, the director of nursing, was transformational to my throughout this STEP project also. My boss was the one to oversee my project and I was able to meet with her frequently to discuss how the internship was going. Many characteristics my boss exhibited were traits I found highly admirable that I hope to live out in my personal life as well. She was very caring and took the time to know each of her workers well and tend to their needs. She is well respected and truly wants the best for each of her employees. She encourages growth and opportunity and helps individuals to meet their biggest goals. I have a better understanding of what it looks like to help encourage individuals in a business setting to prosper.

One aspect of my STEP project that really grew me was the responsibilities I was given in my job. I was in charge of administering medications and when working overnight, would be alone and had to monitor each resident to ensure their safety and well-being. I originally felt very unqualified for this position and it took awhile for me to feel confident in my ability to perform my job well. This discomfort allowed for me to put myself in the role of a student and accept help and training from others. Working with a team of other aides and nurses allowed me to learn from their expertise and prior knowledge in the health field.


  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

My time spent at the internship at the retirement home this year helped to better equip me for my future, not only as an Occupational therapist that now better understands the struggles of the people I serve, but also as an overall person. I feel that I am better able to encourage people, identify skills people view as most valuable for their independence, understanding the holistic lifestyle of residents, work with interdisciplinary teams and set goals with individuals that are meaningful to them. These skills will likely help me in my future endeavors to be a successful OT that is better able to understand patients holistically and how therapy can merge with their personal goals to give them overall independence and confidence.Related image

One thought on “STEP Reflection: Nurse Aide Internship

  1. Taylor, it sounds like you had quite a profound experience working at the retirement facility in Cincinnati. It’s great that you were able to gain insights both as a medical professional but also as a human being. Dealing with the loss of one your patients, a part of working in that field, sounds like it gave you some profound perspective on life. I’m also pleased that you were able to learn from the experience of medication administration and night shift responsibilities, giving you confidence in yourself as an employee in the medical field. I hope you continue to develop your passions and keep up the adventurous hard work on the future!

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