Aishu Challa, Sydney Internship

Interned in clinical information systems at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Department of Microbiology, Spring 2013

Internship: I worked at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Department of Microbiology in Sydney, Australia. My internship was geared towards medical research and clinical information systems. I created a database for the doctors that allowed them to easily enter multiple patient admissions and drug level monitoring and other information. By creating a simple form format and directing buttons for various functions, I made the system easily usable for anyone within the hospital.

In addition, my second project involved using both Oracle and Excel (Pivot tables) to generate reports on the budgeting on patient laboratory tests over the past two financial periods. I presented the reports to the heads of the various departments as well as the manager of the Department of Microbiology.

My third project involved creating a presentation for the head of the department.  Since the microbiology research doctor provided guidance to physicians in various other departments about what antibiotics were effective in treating patients, I was asked to review patient data and records to assess what influence advice given by the microbiology research doctor had on the antibiotics and treatments  chosen. The data identified the progress of patient treatment within eight hours of the call of advice.

I Learned: One thing I learned from my experience is the ability to learn about a new organization and guidelines unique to the country. There are many regulations unique to hospitals in Australia that I was able to educate myself on and apply to my internship projects.

Another thing I learned from studying abroad was various perceptions of the world including the United States. It was fun being able to travel to different cities and meet people from the entire world and broaden my knowledge on global issues and even on my home country.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: A few differences I noticed from the beginning to the end of my internship, in comparison to my previous workplaces included the internship focus, work environment, internship wrap up.

Day one of my internship, my supervisor/boss asked me what I would like to do rather than handing me random busy work. He asked me what I would want to do that would help me. I found this very influential and helpful.

Throughout my internship, my work environment was very casual and laid back. Most of my coworkers took two or three breaks during the day but never missed a deadline. They were very social and often encouraged me to take breaks in order to be more relaxed and high-spirited. Past internship experiences have been quite rigorous and stressful, which I often found intimidating and uncomfortable.

Lastly, during my internship wrap up, my boss and supervisor focused on accomplishments and my efforts, but not on my abilities but on how I helped the department’s success. They also spent a lot of time asking me for advice on how to improve the internship experience for following students which I thought was very impressive and interesting.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was making sure you balanced your school, work, and social life. Sometimes living with friends and discovering a new city can distract you from your main purpose of education and work. I wouldn’t say that balancing was a problem, but it was definitely a factor in your daily life. My biggest advice: stay on task and you can pretty much do anything and everything you want!

Best Part: The best part of my experience was meeting people of all ages and making long-term friendships. It was such an eye opening experience and learning from other’s viewpoints on numerous things is always entertaining and informational. Also, having great local connections helps with finding the best places to visit and receiving good recommendations. I still maintain contact with my Australian friends, coworkers and even the friends I made within the BU Sydney program, which is awesome!