Gaining experience in pediatrics and community nursing

IBC Nurse Internship Program helps Leah Marwitz combine her passions

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During the summer before her senior year, Leah Marwitz, served as an Independence Blue Cross summer intern at the Abington (Pa.) VNA Children's Health Clinic, a nurse-run practice that provides pediatric health care home services to the community. She worked 35 hours a week through this program and has gained valuable experience with children and families.

Hailing from Midlothian, Va., Leah says the experience was a perfect fit for her, “I am interested in not only public health, but also pediatrics and my internship with IBC combined the two things I'm most passionate about.”

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Leah draws up a vaccine for a child.

“During my time at the clinic, I was fortunate enough to gain experience taking vitals, doing hearing and vision screenings, giving vaccines, taking history and interviewing patients about their current medical problems,” Leah explains. She also visited Residential Treatment Facilities (RTFs) in the area to provide healthcare to children living there and participated in public health education activities, such as teaching local daycare providers about juvenile diabetes and other metabolic disorders. “I learned much about the administration of a non-profit nurse-run clinic including using a variety of databases to track the vaccinations and other health information of children who are uninsured and underinsured,” Leah adds. 

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Leah runs a urine dipstick for a patient.

Leah was energized by the experience. “With shorter hospitals stays, the role of community nursing to treat and prevent disease is greater than ever. Whether it was assessing 4-day old newborns with jaundice who needed to be re-hospitalized for treatment, or following-up with mothers who had given birth prematurely to determine whether weight gains made during hospitalization were maintained post-discharge, the clinic was a great resource for parents and their children,” she notes.  Leah enjoyed caring for children of all ages, from infants to college students. 

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Rapid strep tests were part of the summer experience for Leah at the children's clinic.

Leah was also impressed with the nurse practitioners (NPs) at the center. “The NPs that I worked with were great teachers and made every effort to show me unusual cases to help further my understanding and skill development,” she recalls. 

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Leah checks a hemoglobin for a waiting family.

The experience had an impact on this senior as she finishes her undergraduate work and prepares for her career. As she looks to the future, Leah shares, “I hope to continue to volunteer at the VNA Children's Health Center during my senior year. While I want to continue my education to become a nurse practitioner, I hope to work as a nurse in a non-profit pediatric setting.”