After three busy weeks in Rochester, Minnesota I finally have a chance to relax and settle in. I am still in shock that I was picked for the ten week Summer III nursing internship at the Mayo Clinic. The program picked 111 nursing students from all over the country to work under the supervision of an experienced registered nurse. Purdue was fortunate enough to have six students picked for the internship.
Orientation consisted of two weeks of classroom and clinical time. We were educated on the policies and procedures performed at Mayo and were allowed to practice our skills in the simulation labs. My favorite part of orientation was getting to know my fellow interns from around the country. It is interesting to hear about other nursing programs and cultures. My apartment alone represents California, Washington, Colorado, Maine, and two schools in Indiana. I am amazed about how similar we are despite our different backgrounds.
On the last day of orientation we were able to tour the former homes of the Mayo brothers. Dr. Charlie lived in Mayowood, while Dr. Will resided in the Foundation house. Both properties were breathtaking, especially considering the structures are over 100 years old. The guest book at Mayowood contained the signatures of President Johnson, Helen Keller and various kings and queens. While Mayowood is a part of the historic society and open to tours, the foundation house is much more private and hosts banquets and other important events. It was a true honor to be invited to tea at the Foundation house because most people working at Mayo never get the privilege.
I have only spent a few days on the general surgical floor I have been assigned to, but I have already learned a lot. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like my floor, but I couldn’t been happier with my placement because of the variety of patients and conditions. My floor takes care of several patients who have received Whipple operations. The Whipple surgery is a complicated procedure to treat pancreatic cancer and usually lasts eight hours. In most parts of the country pancreatic cancer is inoperable, but Mayo Clinic has an experienced surgeon that performs the difficult surgeries. Patients come from all over the country to receive the unique surgery and it is honor to be a part of the process.
Even though I have been extremely busy, I have had a chance to have some fun. The first weekend in Rochester, a large group of interns went tubing down a river in inner tubes. Floating down the river was very relaxing and allowed me to get to know my fellow interns on a personal level. Last weekend my roommates and I made a trip to the Mall of America. The best thing about Minnesota is there is no sales tax on clothes! My first few weeks have been great and I am excited to see what adventures await me in the following weeks!
— Stephanie Westfall, Nursing