Intern Name: Mattea Pavelich
Title/Place of Internship: Intern at St. Cloud Orthopedics/Orthopedic Sports Center
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?
I found my internship by simply calling several orthopedic and cardiac centers around the St. Cloud area. While most people did not return my call, St. Cloud Orthopedics did! It can be disheartening to be turned down, but I believe many people will respect showing that initiative.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?
I spend many hours at St. Cloud Orthopedics observing the work of physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, athletic trainers, surgeons, and physician assistants. I got to see such a wide variety of roles regarding orthopedic care and helped out wherever I could.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?
As a Pre-Physician Assistant student, something I am always thinking about is what specialty I would like to see myself in. While I have always had a fascination for orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation, this internship gave me such a realistic view of what a day-to-day job would look like. I was also inspired by the amazing mentors I was able to learn from each day. Having this internship really reminded me why I work so hard academics, and how it will all pay off in my future.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?
I was surprised to learn how closely all these health care providers work together. Something that makes St. Cloud Orthopedics so great is that physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, athletic trainers, surgeons, and physician assistants all work together in the same building. It really made it feel like everyone was equal and each person had respect for the role of each other person. I believe having this proximity is the unique quality is what makes patient care so great at St. Cloud Orthopedics. Post surgery, your doctor can walk right down the hall and discuss your physical therapy. It is a structure I had never experienced in health care shadowing.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?
This experience helped me take concepts I have learned through my biology courses, and apply them to a field which I am so passionate about. It was great for me to get off campus and spend time with such intelligent professionals, who are simply so good at their jobs. Each person at St. Cloud Orthopedics taught me something different about what it means to be the best health care provider you can be, and I will be a better Physician Assistant because of it.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?
I would tell any student thinking of getting an internship to go out and create opportunities for yourself. Find what area you may want a career in and get credits for exploring that passion. Showing initiative, rather than waiting for experience to fall in your lap will make all the difference!