While his friends may have been spending relaxing summer days hanging out at the beach, IPA senior Ian Rife ‘23 was busy scrubbing up for the operating room, where he observed and assisted skilled anesthesiologists and accomplished surgeons operating on patients. Rife spent six weeks this past summer as a paid intern with Hawai’i Pacific Health’s Health Careers Summer Internship. The prestigious learning opportunity prepares high school seniors and college students for a career in the medical field by providing first-hand experience in health care. Interns learn about hospital systems, interact with healthcare professionals, and explore different professions in the industry through hands-on participation in activities and projects.
“The internship was nothing like the description I read when I signed up,” shared Rife. “Going into the internship I had no idea I would get to work side-by-side with nurses and physicians and help with things like shaving patients’ entire bodies prior to procedures.”
As an intern at Straub Medical Center, Rife had many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences in different areas of health care. In addition to participating in surgical clinical work, Rife completed rotations in the emergency room, intensive care and burn units, interventional radiology, and cardiac testing.
“I was really fortunate to be placed in situations at the right place and time. I felt like I was given opportunities and responsibilities where I could just learn,” explained Rife. “I had the privilege of shadowing anesthesiologists in the OR helping monitor patients’ vitals, all within a few feet of where the patient was being operated on. I was even given the chance to go through the process of pre-op in the surgical admissions center and go through what an actual physician would do prior to a procedure.”
The six weeks were an invaluable experience for Rife, and made him realize the potential consequences of Hawai’i’s physician and nurse shortage and the importance of making practice more enticing for physicians in Hawai’i.
“This opportunity was incredibly worthwhile for me because it allowed me to narrow down my career options and allowed me to give back to my community in massive ways,” said Rife. “I was undecided on the career path I want to pursue and this internship really cemented it. I want to become a physician and work right here in the state of Hawai’i.”
“I wouldn’t change anything about the internship and my experience. The program gave me incredible opportunities and networking possibilities for my future. I am even more excited to begin the fall semester as a senior and take AP biology and AP physics, the classes I am looking forward to the most.”