Health Services Management interns arrive at their host workplaces eager and prepared for success

Hosting an intern can be an exciting and rewarding experience for your organization. Health Services Management interns arrive at your workplace with foundational knowledge of key health care concepts and processes, along with a healthy curiosity and passion for helping people.

Rather than sing the praises of our HSM interns ourselves (which we do on the employer internship page), we wanted you to hear from some industry professionals who have recently hosted interns on their teams. To start, each of them were delighted with the fresh eyes and enthusiasm their interns brought to their teams and projects. 

Kevin Vandevoorde (KV) works as a readiness specialist for Optum, a data and analytics arm of UnitedHealth Group, which analyzes new product launches for potential risks. “I see so much drive in these interns, it’s crazy! It’s like they just inject us with a new energy and get our team excited to work with them.”

Hilary Radtke (HR) is the director of Quality, Improvement, & Accreditation for Health Partners at Regions Hospital. “It’s super exciting to have interns that have cutting-edge knowledge. They’re learning the very latest from people who are out working in the field and can show us a new way of looking at things.”

Ellie Henderscheid (EH) is a community health improvement specialist in Allina’s Community Benefit and Engagement department. “I really can’t say enough about our intern—she was amazing. She brought a whole different energy and thought process to our work.”

Next, they answered some more specific questions about their internship experience. 

What skills and characteristics are you looking for in an intern?

KV: “Comfort with ambiguity is important. It’s really difficult to understand this very complex organization within an even bigger industry. They need to be okay with that. Also, I look for independence and intellectual curiosity—you know, never stopping asking ‘Why.’ And we look for people who want to get things done!”

HR: “I look for a connection, either between passion for health care and whatever level of work or volunteer experience in the field, or some connection to an under-served community that could help us grow in the areas we don’t have. So I was interested in people who spoke different languages or explored different parts of the world."

EH: “Because we’re focused on community health, we do look for someone who has experience in that area, maybe volunteer-wise or in previous jobs. And we look for really good writers and somebody who’s able to speak and present well. Time management and project management are also very important.”

How did your intern help your organization?

KV: “Our intern was able to help us with a big presentation we had to give to our senior executive, showing all the internal projects we had done over the year. We didn’t have an internal project manager who had the time to really put together our deck, so we gave that to our intern. And he did a really good job! That’s just one example of how we could trust him with a job and just knew he would get it done.”

HR: “Interns bring knowledge that I’m not exposed to. We were in a hospital, in the middle of a pandemic, and asking ourselves how to redesign our processes to keep everyone healthy. Working virtually was a foreign concept to us. Our intern had been learning online for a year and let us know that ‘virtual is fine. It gives me autonomy.’ That perspective was so helpful.”

EH: “I was able to get professional development by mentoring our intern. The ability to manage somebody and get that experience for a couple of months while they’re with us was a bonus for me. Also, we have more work than we can handle, and it’s one way we can bridge that gap.”

Would you recommend HSM interns to colleagues in the industry?

KV: “I have recommended HSM interns to my colleagues wholeheartedly. Yes, absolutely.”

HR: “Absolutely, yes. We have a handful of people who graduated from the HSM program working across our system. The program gives them the base knowledge and the language to set them up for success.”

EH: “That’s very much a ‘yes.’ Our intern was really passionate about health services and wanted to learn more. What’s unique about our work is that we’re really community health focused, which was new for our intern, but she adapted really well. She was really good at listening and hearing what people need, and then being able to fulfill that task, which I found super helpful.”

Find out more about hosting interns on the HSM Internship Employer Information website.