Health Sciences Internships

Apply what you learn

Gain valuable work experience, identify career opportunities, and network with professionals in your future field as you apply what you learn in the classroom in the real world.

The internship course is designed to provide you with hands-on industry experience. It will complement your undergraduate education and advance you toward earning your degree.

About the course

The goal of the internship is for students to explore or gain experience in their chosen careers. Students are asked to develop objectives they wish to achieve during the internship that will help them grow and progress toward their career goals. This is not only an opportunity to learn but to apply the skills learned during the past several years in the health sciences degree program. If you are still determining a career in the health-care system, the internship will give you the opportunity to explore possible career options.

HLSC-H 495 is a six-credit-hour course for which we use an A through F grading scale. This is implemented primarily to ensure students submit appropriate documentation and reflections for the internship. As with all health sciences courses, students must earn a C or above to pass.

The internship is split between two primary responsibilities:

  • Performing 300 hours of intern duties at an approved internship site.
  • Completing academic assignments comprised of four main items:
  1. Submission of bi-weekly time logs
  2. Submission of required mid- and end-of-semester evaluations
  3. Submission of a final internship reflection
  4. Developing, implementing, and reflecting on an internship project

As you can see, assignments are focused on the internship itself as opposed to curricular assignments.

Each internship site has unique responsibilities, hours, and duties. You will need to discuss your potential hours with your site preceptor, as well as your internship instructor. Since you are a student and this is a credit-based course, excessive hours will not be approved. In other words, 12-hour days are not acceptable. Occasional ten-hour shifts may be approved based on the organization’s characteristics but eight-hour days should be the maximum. In addition, seven-day work weeks are not permissible.

The instructor will be in contact during the semester to check in, obtain updates, or provide information. Make sure to check Canvas regularly, as well as check your IU email, to keep up to date.

The internship project is an opportunity for students to develop and implement a project of their choosing. Although you are encouraged to work with your internship site preceptor to choose a project, the responsibility and leadership of the project should be your primary responsibility.

The project information must be clearly articulated when submitting the internship consent form. However, based on the internship site and organization, the project may change once the internship begins. Should this happen, communicate with your instructor your intent to change and provide clear documentation of what your new project will entail. Once the instructor approves the new project, you may begin the implementation.

A detailed reflection and summary of the project will make up 25 percent of your final grade.

The project is unique for each internship. The project will differ depending on student creativity and supervisor input. Ideas for projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing a new manual or operation guide for the internship site
  • Analyzing existing data at the internship site to extract and report on key variables unique to the internship site
  • Gathering key documents and data related to an internship site receiving accreditation or compliance certifications
  • Revising, updating, and expanding existing internship site manuals
  • Conducting art or craft sessions for internship site clients or patients to improve mental, social, or spiritual dimensions of health
  • Creating group activities for the internship site clients or patients that address a specific need of that population
  • Designing a process or system that keeps track of volunteer or employee work related to health outcomes
  • Developing a webinar to be used by the internship site to promote their services or products
  • Revising and updating a website
  • Creating and implementing Facebook or Twitter pages for the internship site as it relates to health outcomes
  • Developing behavior plans for clients or patients to improve mental or physical health
  • Improving patient sign in or reporting procedures to improve patient satisfaction
  • Completing a needs assessment for a specific target population critical to the internship site mission and goals
  • Developing, composing, and evaluating surveys for the internship site based on need
  • Conducting a needs assessment specific to developing a marketing plan for the internship site that will increase awareness of the site’s services and products
  • Developing a health promotion program for the internship target population
    Implementing an on-site health or wellness program for employees

The first day of the internship cannot be any earlier than the semester start date. Students must complete 300 hours, which is very feasible during a 16-week semester time frame. Should circumstances prevent the completion of the 300 hours in a semester, an incomplete may be given to allow students time to complete the internship. However, this must be discussed with the instructor and is based on extenuating circumstances.

Although you cannot begin your internship early, you can finish the internship earlier than the semester end date. We encourage students to complete the internship in a full-time capacity, which means you could complete all 300 hours in eight weeks, based on a 40-hour work week. Make sure to communicate your intent with your instructor.

Since you are an intern at another organization, you need to follow the organization’s holiday schedule. If you are planning to take time during the semester (i.e., spring break), this must be clearly communicated to the internship site prior to starting the internship. You will also need to calculate the missed time into your internship schedule. Not having enough hours at the end of the semester, after taking a week off, does not warrant an incomplete for the internship.

When you are discussing internship possibilities with prospective internship sites, ask whether the site requires it and then ask if they provide it or expect you to provide your own coverage. Some internship sites provide interns with liability insurance coverage; others do not. In some instances, sites may require that you show proof of liability insurance coverage before you will be allowed to start your internship.

If you need liability insurance, contact your instructor for information on inexpensive liability insurance options.

Andrew Pucka

My internship with IU School of Medicine helped me develop my academic and clinical research skillsets.

Andrew Pucka, Health Sciences Student

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