Gabriela Baptista was one of many interns at the Huntsman World Senior Games. She used her background in neuroscience to perform tests for the elderly participants.
What was your internship experience?
This internship opportunity was a little different because it was a volunteer opportunity. My volunteer position was to help with health screenings of the participants. As volunteers we were assigned to help with different health screening stations. The stations that I got to go through were grip strength where I would help the participants to test their grip strength through squeezing the machine.
Another station was blood pressure test, where we would measure the blood pressure of participants. I also participated in the body composition station, where participants would come and step on a scale and have details of their body composition print out on a paper, I would then walk them through the results and explain what the numbers meant. The scale would analyze things like wight, visceral fat, BMI and other body weight and muscles related things. My favorite station was the station where we would test blood glucose and cholesterol. In that station, we would take a blood sample from the finger tip and put part of it into a machine to deeply analyze blood cholesterol and then the rest of that blood sample we would put into a little machine that would calculate the blood glucose of the participants.
I also participated in the eye testing station, where we would test the participants for glaucoma and also test their vision through different machines. The last station that I got to be part of was the station that was testing and studying the balance of the participants. We would have them step on a not so steady mat and we would perform series of activities to see how they could control their own balance. All of those stations resulted in me gaining more knowledge of the health field and the participants being helped and gaining more knowledge about their health and bodies.
What did you learn from this experience?
I learned many things in my internship. I was able to learn how to perform little procedures and how to perform certain health screenings, and if I had to choose the most useful one it would be the cholesterol and glucose testing because I was able to handle needles, which is something that is related to my career path. But I believe that if I had to choose the number one most useful thing that I learned it would be the "patient" interaction.
My plan is to go to nursing school after I graduate from BYU and one of the strong requirements is to have patient interaction, which I never really understood why we needed patient interaction before applying to nursing school if we were there to learn that as well, but after volunteering in the health screening I understood why. Helping people with health related things goes beyond just measuring the pressure or testing cholesterol, you are also there to give them comfort, direction and make them feel good.
I had some people come and they had an amazing health and I was able to see their happiness but some people didn't have great results in their blood pressure test, or in the cholesterol test or any other test and I had to tell them that there was something that wasn't quite right, but I had to do it in a way that would show comfort and not make them desperate about it.
The best thing I learned was definitely how to interact with people from all ages and in all situations, good or bad, and that is something I am taking into my future career.I had learned in past classes things like normal glucose levels and normal blood pressure and that was really helpful when I was analyzing the results and explaining to the participants their results. I was able to develop teamwork, because I was working with a group of other volunteers that were in the same station as me and we had to coordinate everything together. I was also able to develop communication, since I had to communicate to the participants.