Why a Health Administration Internship?

Asa B. Wilson, Albert P. Nowak


A healthcare administration internship is discussed as an important factor in academia’s response to criticism that graduates are not well prepared for job challenges. Employers contend that many graduates have limited critical thinking strengths; a cognitive attribute that manifest itself in needed workplace skills.

This article summarizes the conceptual framework and organizational features that, over a seven-year period, fostered the establishment of a statewide undergraduate health administration internship program. The internship is embedded in an AUPHA-certified health administration curriculum in a Midwest state university.

The internship is discussed as a part of the health administration curriculum and as an experiential bridge from the university’s didactic world to the health service work environment. Enhancing interns’ critical thinking is the internship goal; an outcome pursued through experiential learning in the placement site and augmented with structured input from the university. Internship projects, assignments, project execution, and, preceptor guidance continuously augment the internship’s cycle of experiential learning.

As the internship matured, mutual benefits between the program and participating facilities emerged. These returns are discussed under the headings of: a) employment support, b) research collaboration, c) networking opportunities, d) promotional outreach, and e) outcome-assessment research. These returns continuously reinforce value for all internship stakeholders.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/rhs.v4n3p142


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