Student Voices: Learning by Doing
August 15, 2012 - Amayrani Calvario is one of 18 rising seniors at the City of Medicine Academy in Durham who recently completed a summer internship in a nearby medical facility. Under the close guidance of her preceptor, or mentor, Amayrani spent four weeks gaining hands-on experience inside the operating room of North Carolina Specialty Hospital, where she observed surgeries and assisted with patient care.
"The internship made me realize that I'm definitely interested in a career as a surgeon," Amayrani said. "Of all the experiences I've had at CMA, this was the most motivating. I got to see stuff that really interested me." When asked what her biggest lesson was, Amayrani didn't hesitate: "Patience. I learned it's best to do things right the first time, to take your time and do them carefully. The patient's safety always comes first. Really for everything you do in life, you have to have patience."
As a health and life science-themed STEM school, the City of Medicine Academy offers students rich work-based learning opportunities with private sector partners, including hospitals, clinics, and health-focused research institutions. Internships, field studies, clinical rotations tied to coursework, and other opportunities linking students to the professional world ensure that student learning is engaging and relevant.
Thanks to a partnership with Duke Area Health Education Center, 10 of Amayrani's classmates completed their internships with several departments across Duke University Health System, including neurology, pediatrics, and family medicine. Student responsibilities varied by department, but included obtaining supplies for physicians, sterilizing instruments, assisting with patient care, and carrying out administrative tasks. Four students completed their internships with Chapel Hill Obstetrics and Gynecology and with Palmer Dentistry.
"The best part was that people knew my name and sent me to do different tasks," said Autumn Brown, who like Amayrani, completed her internship at NC Specialty Hospital. "I loved feeling like a valued member of the team."