Student Practicum at Mayo Clinic
The practical experience requirement of my Master of Public Health studies was the most valuable professional experience I have had to date. I completed my Practicum in the summer of 2015 in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. During my time there I had a hand in a variety of projects related to population health. The most notable of these was a first-author case report that was submitted for publication.
The case report described a joint effort between Mayo Clinic and Olmsted County Public Health under the Beacon Community program. Specifically, this effort was the co-development of a health information exchange tool (i.e. transitions of care tool) that alerts Olmsted County Public Health when one of their clients has been admitted to the hospital to enable discharge planning.
As an intern, I did not expect to have many responsibilities and freedoms. Rather, I anticipated a summer full of “busy-work.” This was not the case. My role in the case report project, and on other projects, was clearly of value to the organization. These intimidating but important involvements allowed me to grow as a professional in a real world setting where I had numerous opportunities to apply classroom skills. I utilized a range of abilities that included research and investigation, literature review development, interviewing, statistical analysis, and report writing. More importantly, this experience allowed me to identify gaps in my knowledge. With this information I was able to make strategic decisions on what courses I might take in the future that would close these knowledge gaps so that I might become a more marketable public health professional.
The most important outcome of my practical experience was the formation of professional relationships that resulted from a variety of networking opportunities. For example, my Practicum Preceptor holds a spot on my Scholarly Project Committee so that we are able to continue to work together for the duration of my M.P.H. studies. These networking opportunities will also open up opportunities when I begin my career search. In addition, my Preceptor serves as a mentor to me as I begin establishing myself as a young public health professional. This invaluable practical experience was an opportunity I will never forget.
--- Submitted by Laura Ahmed, 2nd year M.P.H. student ---