Penn State students gain hands-on experience at Johns Hopkins

September 05, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five Penn State students studying health policy and administration gained hands-on experience this summer through internships at Johns Hopkins.

“Such opportunities are so valuable to our students who are pursuing careers in health care administration or health policy,” said Amy Thul-Sigler, associate director of professional development in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State. “Experience working in various health care settings sets students on a path for success in their careers following graduation.”

Jennifer McConaughy, a Penn State World Campus student, completed her internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where she worked with the neurosciences administrator.

“This opportunity has opened an incredible world of experiences for me, all of which has sustained my ever-growing passion for this profession,” McConaughy said. “I spent a lot of time in meetings, which involve a wide gamut of topics. I also learned how the clinic flows and what barriers can be eliminated or improved, and we discussed and explored new opportunities to improve patient interaction and satisfaction.”

Student Casey DiFerdinando also completed an internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview where she worked with the administrator and assistant administrator of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Department. In her role, she worked on two process-improvement projects. The first project explored efficient and effective operating room throughput. The second project looked at overflow of triage patients on the labor and delivery floor.

“To accomplish both of these projects I have analyzed data, utilized spreadsheets to organize and review data, observed multiple C-sections, shadowed triage nurses on the labor and delivery floor, and met with a lean specialist to create tools, such as process maps, histograms and more to understand the flow of these processes and how to improve them,” DiFerdinando said.

Also at Johns Hopkins Bayview, Caroline M. Keyser worked closely with a registered nurse in the Specialty Hospital where she attended morning bed meetings and managerial floor meetings. She also attended meetings with the Joint Practice Committee, Safety Committee, Hospital Capacity Planning, and regulatory Joint Commission Action Group to obtain a full understanding of hospital administrator responsibilities.

Keyser also had opportunities to attend multiple educational leadership courses, including those related to population health and finance, throughout the hospital, and the annual patient safety conference in Washington, D.C.

As a project, Keyser helped her preceptor plan a simulation drill for a possible malware attack to ensure that the hospital will remain fully functional. Additionally, she worked on multiple projects involving the team members and their affect on patients, taking raw data and summarizing it into easy to read data layouts for annual reports.

“A very special aspect of my internship experience has been the amazing one-on-one conversations I have had with many different administrators and other professionals about their impact,” Keyser said. “This allows me to fully understand health care, not only from the provider side, but also from the view point of a CFO or COO and the interactions with board members and shareholders.”

Alicia Mosebrook completed her internship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she observed the operations of the Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control; reviewed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization’s policies and protocols related to infection prevention (including hand hygiene); and assisted with a project to reduce operating-room traffic.

She also trained to be a “Hand Hygiene Secret Shopper” where she observed whether hospital staff cleaned their hands upon entering and exiting patients’ rooms. This data was shared with hospital staff to help increase compliance.

For her operating-room traffic project, Mosebrook observed cardiac surgeries, such as coronary artery bypass grafts, mitral valve replacements, aortic valve replacements and sternotomy procedures. Mosebrook documented who entered or exited the operating room, when they did so, and the purpose for the entry or exit. The project will use this information to help develop strategies to decrease traffic in and out of operating rooms.

“I observed seven surgeries and then analyzed my collection of data for averages as well as conclusions,” Mosebrook said. “My time here at Hopkins was completely eye opening and an incredible learning experience.”

Student Julie Kocjancic also interned at The Johns Hopkins Hospital working in the Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control. In addition to serving as a “Hand Hygiene Secret Shopper,” she worked in the cardiac operating room on a project to decrease surgical site infections. The project used a particle counter to look at the number of particles in the operating room to determine whether the number increases when the doors are opened and what other activities increase the number of particles in the room. 

  • Amy Thul-Sigler with Alicia Mosebrook

    Amy Thul-Sigler, associate director of professional development in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State, with Alicia Mosebrook, a Penn State student who completed a summer internship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    IMAGE: Johns Hopkins

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 06, 2017