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Building a Future Career in Primary Care

Veronica Robbins and her poster, part of a capstone project as an IBC summer intern

In summer 2018, rising senior Veronica Robbins was an intern with Independence Blue Cross Foundation, an opportunity which brough her additional exposure to health care and resources in the community. 

"Through this opportunity, I primarily worked at Spectrum Community Health Center in West Philadelphia, which is a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Qualified facility with resources in adult health, prenatal care, pediatric care, dental services, behavior health, case management, and more for any patient that walks through the door. SCHC operates on a sliding fee scale, meaning it can meet the needs of patients regardless of their ability to pay or their insurance status," explains Veronica.

She welcomed the variety of experiences. Veronica says, "As a student interested in pursuing primary care in my future career, working at SCHC allowed me to explore this interest more by providing me the opportunity to shadow nurse practitioners in various specialties, for instance, family, pediatric and midwifery practice, as well as work on my skills with triaging patients."  

Veronica Robbins in a leadership lab (2nd from left)
Veronica Robbins in a leadership lab (2nd from left)

Through the IBC Foundation, all nurse interns participated in “Leadership Labs” periodically throughout the 10-week internship where they heard from empowering nurse leaders, practiced public speaking, honed networking skills, practiced team building and communication, participated in service, and more. Additionally, every nurse intern completed a research project and presented findings during a poster session at a closing event at the end of the summer. Hers focused on Barriers to Patient Compliance in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Management.

Veronica recalls, "Working at SCHC opened my eyes to the great disparities in health care that are very real and closer to home than we often realize. It brought my attention to the daily consequences of lack of access to care, leading to decreased health literacy of populations in certain geographic areas and thus, poorer health outcomes. This summer experience with IBC Foundation and SCHC played a vital role in my formation as a nurse in more ways than I can articulate."

Veronica is launching her career in the Nurse Residency Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. She says, "I will be bringing with me the valuable skills and knowledge I gained through my experience as an IBC Foundation nurse intern."