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Interdisciplinary experience woven through LIMR Summer Internship

LIMR summer interns
Rising seniors Holly Leighton, left and Ashley Tallon valued their experiences with Dr. Stan Miller during their summer internship at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research.


During the months of June and July, two senior nursing students participated in a summer internship program at the Main Line Health System’s Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR). Ashley Tallon from Matawan, N.J., and Holly Leighton of Drexel Hill, Pa. spent part of their summer working with Lankenau’s Education Center on various learning modules that supplemented their pediatric injury prevention program.  Fire, gun and burn safety as well as concussion prevention, poison prevention and choking were among some of the modules the students created. These modules were presented at local camps including the Jewish Community Center and Lower Merion camps.

The students found it extremely rewarding watching the children respond to the things they were being taught. In one module presented on bike safety, the students asked the children to agree or disagree with the statement “Bicycle helmets are only for little kids who are learning to ride their bikes” and most of the campers, to their surprise, agreed with the statement. Ashley and Holly then taught the children about helmet safety with a module that included a “melon drop.” The pair used two melons, one fit with a helmet and the other without, and dropped each melon from a chair. The melon with the helmet didn’t even crack while the one without a helmet splattered across the room. Using this simple yet memorable demonstration, the children were able to better understand the importance of wearing a helmet and correctly answered the post-test questions about the appropriate use of the safety device.

The two students also ran blood pressure screenings, shadowed on the labor and delivery unit, and compiled lists of faith-based resources for Lankenau clinic patients who needed help with transportation to doctor visits and items such as food and clothing.

Ashley (left) and Holly worked with Dr. Miller on grant applications related to pediatric injury.

Ashley and Holly also had the opportunity to help work on a grant application for Lankenau Medical Center’s Pediatric Injury Prevention program. Collaborating closely with Stanton Miller, MD, MPH, FACS, director of the Center for Public Health Research and a member of the College of Nursing’s Board of Consultors, the students helped to design a research study and grant proposal on pediatric injury in Main Line Health’s emergency rooms. They will continue to work on the grant throughout their senior year.

Ashley, interested in public policy and how it directly affects patients, enjoyed this opportunity that allowed her to learn through shadowing and collaboration with nurses, physicians, residents and hospital statisticians. Working at LIMR showed her “the versatility of a nursing degree and the endless opportunities it provides.” Ashley also noted that “working with professionals from different disciplines also helped me to recognize the importance of inter-professional relationships and seeing the health care system as a big team.” Ashley’s career goals include practicing as a certified nurse midwife as well as the opportunity to influence policy, in part due to her rewarding experience at LIMR.

Holly also mentioned the reason for seeking this opportunity was related to her interest in public health and desire to see the roles that nurses play in that field. She too enjoyed researching pediatric injury prevention strategies and how to incorporate them into their modules and teaching plans. When describing her time at LIMR and what she had gained from this experience, Holly said “this experience taught me how to adapt information to teach to different age groups and gave me a chance to see firsthand the importance of primary prevention.” Holly, maintaining her interest in public health nursing, is also interested in future careers in nursing education, and psychiatric and geriatric nursing.