Name: Robert Curland
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Sheppard Pratt
Expected Graduation Year: 2015
Briefly describe your internship, co-op, research, or service-learning opportunity, including your day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and assignments.
I spent time on three units, Psychotic Disorders, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Crisis Stabilization. On each unit I would talk with patients, help in therapeutic groups, assist on staff-escorted walks, sit in on rounds, and other things that involved patient interactions. I was also fortunate enough to have one on one time with multiple psychiatrists that would show me how they spent each day as well as recommend me some literature to read regarding mental illness.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?
I have enjoyed the sheer amount of opportunities Sheppard Pratt has given me. I was fortunate enough to sit in on electroconvulsive therapy(ECT), talk to patients from all walks of life, and get to know staff that truly care about their patients and enjoy what they do. Many individuals have a stigma towards people with mental illness, however spending time with patients each week shows you that some people that could come into the hospital with a mental illness that you wouldn't even expect.
What have you gained from your experience that you could not have gained from another opportunity?
I have gained connections to a wonderful group of people that could not be found anywhere else. Sheppard Pratt has also been ranked one of the best mental health programs in the nation, giving me the opportunity to see some of the best at work.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
I would recommend to keep trying until you find something you like. Make plenty of phone calls, set up as many interviews as you can, and don't be afraid to start as a volunteer to get your foot in the door.
How do you see your experience as meaningful? This might involve skills you’ve gained, information you’ve learned, mentors you’ve connected with, or projects you’ve completed.
This experience was meaningful as it let me realize that working with mental illness is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I learned how to interact with patients, how much effort goes into the day-to-day running of a unit, and what it takes to work in a psychiatric hospital. During my time at Sheppard Pratt I was lucky enough to meet multiple psychiatrist that were kind enough to spend time talking with me about psychology and their work instead of just dismissing me as a lowly student.
Please provide a short quote about what you liked most about your position / earning internship credit / the internship placement process.
Getting to know the patients and hearing what brought them in, and seeing them recover and be given a second chance was what I liked most about internship.