3 Tips to Making the Most of an Externship
Mar. 9, 2016
At Concorde Career College, we think learning is far more than just knowing. Itâs doing! Thatâs why, as part of our curriculum, we include lab hours, clinical rotations and, finally, a community-based externship. âExternships really serve a dual purpose,â said Graham Nott, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Concorde. âFirst, as externships fall at the end of a program, it allows students to practice the skills they have learned in a didactic and laboratory setting in the real world under real conditions and with real patients.â âThis helps build confidence in the students and continues to hone their skills for post-graduation employment,â noted Nott.Â âThe second reason is to allow the students to show off their teamwork, professionalism and health care skills to potential employers.â As externships tend to be the culmination of a studentâs learning, whether youâre finishing your pharmacy technician training or working toward becoming aÂ dental assistant, it could be easy to have feelings of senioritis creep onto the scene. However, a strong percentage of our students are hired by their externship site upon completion and start their health care career in a familiar facility. We visited with William White, one of our Graduate Employment Specialists at our Tampa campus, about some tips, tricks and tactics to make any externship productive and meaningful.
Don't view it as "working for free"White said that students commonly misconstrued an externship opportunity as âsimply work for free for employers instead of viewing the extern experience as a class thatâs not in a classroom and without the long lectures.â Instead, he submits to students to view the opportunity as âa long working interview.â Nott agrees. âNumber one is professionalism.Â Arrive on time, leave the cell phone in the car, be professional and courteous to everyone, treat patients with appropriate care and compassion and have excellent customer service skills,â he encourages. âStudents should have good entry level skills, but you would be surprised how many medical facilities will accept a student with lesser skills as long as they look and act professionally.Â They feel that they can train on medical skills, but teaching someone to change poor professional habits is much harder.â
Practical Tips to Make the Most of your Externship
- Carry around a little notebook and take notes throughout the day. Review notes nightly and solicit the help of instructors or program directors when more complex questions arise about what is being learned on site.
- Ask for more responsibilities. Ask to be cross-trained on different things. Ask to learn the software and ask for the job. Closed mouths donât get fed, and externs who asks these type of questions leave a lasting positive impression.
- Network! Purposely and intentionally make friends with the Office Manager, Doctor, Administrator, Lead Assistants, etc. Many of them will know of other offices who might need employees if you are not hired off externship.