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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Internship gives student research opportunity

Published: September 7, 2012
Section: Features

Priyasha Chadha ’15 interned at the North Shore LIJ Health System, both at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ. Alongside other undergraduate, graduate, and even high school students, Chadha was involved in research regarding the emergency room care. She describes the medical topics she explored as an intern, including palliative care, and the psychological effects of injuries. Some of their studies were nationally based and others were community based.
Beyond the research regarding emergency room care, she was involved in working at Hofstra School of Medicine, which just welcomed their first medical class. Hofstra has PSI, the patient safety institute, along with other technological advancements to improve the study of health care. For instance, researchers are able to utilize highly advanced robots capable of experiencing stimulated strokes and births, allowing their students and nurses to gain valuable insight into real world cases.
This is Chadha’s second year as an intern for this hospital, having interned her summer before the start of college as well. She describes the intensive commitment involved, stating “I’ve had a 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift, it is not like your typical research internship.”
“My favorite part of the internship was the large amount of patient interaction,” Chadha told The Hoot. The variety of patients and workers Chadha had the opportunity to see throughout her internship was one of the most valuable parts for her. “You see people with different economic background, different social background and race,” Chadha said.
In her free time, Chadha would walk around the ER and hand out magazines, and sit down and talk to the patients. She describes the personal interaction with patients, stating, “those little things make a huge difference in a stressful environment, so as hectic as the internship was I really liked it.” She reveals she could see herself pursuing emergency room medicine later in life. “It is a very fast paced environment but you take a lot from it and in one setting you can learn so much,” Chadha elaborated.
Chadha as always been intrigued in pre-med, confessing “you are learning about yourself and about how you work and it’s just amazing what our bodies can do.” Regarding the impact of her internship, she says “I learned more about medicine and biology there than I do in a classroom, and it’s great to see what I’m learning in action and I can connect to what I am learning here.”
Ever since childhood, Chadha recalls an emerging interest in medicine. Describing how she would treat stuffed animals as patients in an imagined hospital, she explains “We would make up an excel sheet and actually make up names for our stuffed animals, what their symptoms were, their ages, and their owner’s names and phone numbers. We would have a waiting room set up in my bedroom with cribs and little stethascopes. I have always been involved in it and I just love it.” In terms of her future, she says “I hope someday to eventually be a pediatrician, maybe in emergency medicine. I am more of a people person. I love that environment.”
Despite her interest since childhood, Chadha explains how the internship opened her eyes to the vast work performed by those in the medical field. She remarks, “I thought you see five patients a day, like a pediatrician does, but now I realize how many different things you can do in medicine and it amazes me. I am glad to have seen it so early on in my college career.”
Chadha is currently involved in the pre-health society on campus, Russian society, and MELA, which showed last November. She hopes this year to join step team, stating “this is the only time we can really experiment in our lives.” Despite her involvement in numerous activities around campus, she confesses “I wish there were more medical programs on campus, aside from pre-health and medical brigade there are not many more. I hope that is something they can start one day, but I wish they had more opportunities.”
Chadha is on the med track at Brandeis and planning to combine HSSP and biology together. She explains the rationale behind her double major, stating “I thought it was cool to see the other side of medicine, the policies that go toward medicine and how it effects the medicine. You can practice medicine as much as you want, but you need to know what is going on outside of the medicine.”
Chadha does not regret her summer, even though it was unpaid, “I tell myself that if I want medical experience I cannot look for paid internships, it is more of a community program and I told myself that very early on.” Impressed with her ability to gain the internship position amongst applicants stemming from Ivy League schools, she stresses “never get too comfortable in your setting.”