Reading Hospital welcomes largest class of high school interns

Reading Hospital welcomed 30 high school interns Monday, the largest class to date, as part of the Hospital team. This year 21 students will participate in a full year internship, five students will participate during the fall semester, and four will participate during the spring semester.

The program will host students from Conrad Weiser, Exeter, Fleetwood, Governor Mifflin, Muhlenberg, Oley, Reading, Twin Valley, and Wilson school districts.

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The interns will work a variety of clinical and non-clinical disciplines, including: Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Children’s Health Center, Podiatry, Emergency Department, Labor & Delivery, Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Center for Public Health, Procedure Prep & Recovery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Radiation Oncology, and Genetic Counseling, among others.

Students will complete approximately 300 hours of work in their assigned department during the internship. To be considered for the internship the student must be an incoming senior, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have a good attendance and behavior record.

In addition to their work, the interns participate in educational workshops addressing personal and professional development including financial literacy, resume writing and mock interviews, understanding social media’s impact in the workplace, and healthcare career roundtables.

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In September 2014, Reading Hospital began an internship program to introduce local high school students to careers in healthcare. The inaugural class of seven interns were all students at Reading High School.

Desha Dickson, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Wellness at Tower Health said, “We are so proud of all the participants and graduates of our internship programs. These programs provide first-hand experience to the students and allow them the opportunity to see how teams across the hospital work together for the health of our patients and community. We’ve seen the positive impact this program can have and are fortunate to have graduates of the program come back and work at Reading Hospital.”

To date, 51 students have completed the program. Most have pursued higher education in healthcare-related fields. To date, eight students have returned to Reading Hospital as interns or for employment.

Yomari Salvador-Rivera, a 2015-2016 Reading High School graduate of the internship program knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do. When she learned about the internship opportunity, she jumped at the chance. Through the program she had a variety of experiences in different departments within the Hospital.

“I knew the internship program was an excellent way to access the healthcare field and that it may help me find my career path,” Ms. Salvador-Rivera shared. “The program had a significant impact on my college and career preparation. Working in several of departments meant my tasks and responsibilities changed and I was able to have a variety of experiences. As a result, I developed a passion for healthcare management, which I pursued in college.”

In June 2021, Ms. Salvador-Rivera joined the Community Wellness team at Reading Hospital serving as the Program Coordinator for Street Medicine. She added, “My internship was a great experience for me. I worked with a lot of people that were passionate about what they do and it directly influenced me to return to Tower Health after college.”

“Educating tomorrow’s healthcare providers has always been a priority for Tower Health,” said Charles F. Barbera, MD, Reading Hospital President and CEO. “I am proud of the internship program because it is changing lives. I’d like to express my sincerest thanks to the students for their commitment to the health of our community. Our participating team members are also to be commended for offering this unique hands-on learning that provides real life experience in a high-quality healthcare facility. These interns have the opportunity to learn from some of the very best in the industry.”

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