An unusual internship in the nursing degree programme

In a normal internship you shadow people who work in your future professional field. But for first-year Nursing students it’s not a normal internship. Interns put themselves in the shoes of their future patients. Wessel’s story explains why this has been a great success: “Through this internship I really understood what I can mean to someone else.”

Older and younger man taking a selfie “An internship with a patient: I really didn’t know what that meant,” he explains. “We were given a lot of freedom, in consultation with the patient. For me the internship involved sitting down for coffee every two weeks. The elderly couple where I did my internship didn’t  see  their  grandchildren very often and they liked it when I stopped by for coffee. I enjoyed it as well. From the autumn break until the end of the school year, I visited them every two weeks. I was able to learn things that you don’t find in textbooks.”   

To really listen

 “What did I learn? To really listen, for example. The husband was very outspoken about everything. I didn’t always agree with him. But this experience taught me that you don’t always have to  convince  someone  of  your  own  opinion. In our profession it’s very important to know when your opinion adds something useful, and when it doesn’t.” 

A whole new perspective

 “This internship has given me a whole new perspective,” explains Wessel. “The couple spoke a lot and were very engaged with their caregivers. It made me understand how important you are to someone as a nurse. Especially in the beginning you frequently ask yourself: Am I doing it right? But now I know that the most important item on your checklist is: am I really there for this person?”