UW-Whitewater Student Maggie Reinert, from Warrenville, Illinois is a Human Performance Major and Allied Health Minor. Maggie volunteered at Fairhaven in the past and has recently finished up her internship with Fairhaven!
We had a little A&A with Maggie about her internship experience with Fairhaven and what made it so great.
Our Q&A with Maggie:
Q: You had experience with Fairhaven as a volunteer- what did you gain/learn more of through your internship?
A: As an intern, I was at Fairhaven four times a week and became more involved in the daily routine of the residents so they recognized and built stronger relationships with me in comparison to when I was volunteering every other week for one day. That was a huge gain and made going every day a lot of fun.
Q: What did you do for your internship?
A: I mainly spent my mornings with the Physical and Occupation Therapy department at Fairhaven and Hearthstone and did activities with Leisure Services in the afternoons. Because of the half-day switch, I did a variety of activities every day. In PT/OT I spent most of my time observing the therapists and their ways of rehab, doing exercises and interacting with the patients, and assisting them in ways I was allowed to do like following a patient walking with a wheelchair or playing hand-eye coordination games with them. For leisure services, I helped with events like presentations, movies, group activities, and outings. We went out to eat at Jessica’s and had two summer barbecues. I played lots of card games and gave bike rides to residents.
Q: What did your internship teach you about the older adult population and how might this help you in your future?
A: Before my internship, the only experience I had with the older adult population was volunteering. I was a softball coach for kids and worked at a gym where I only interacted with college-aged students so I learned a lot quickly about the older population. Some things include phrasing. Specific phrases and wordings can make a huge difference when interacting and I learned what types of questions I should ask to get conversations flowing. The residents have really lived a long life of experiences before coming to Fairhaven and I learned to take that to my advantage because they have lots of interesting life stories and adventures to share that you’ll never be able to learn from someone younger. For my future, learning to be comfortable interacting with the older population has been extremely beneficial because most people are not comfortable doing it and that will help set me apart from other physical therapists it will come naturally and therefore benefit my patients’ experiences in therapy.
Q: What will you graduate with and what occupation/field do you see yourself going into?
A: I will graduate with a bachelor’s in human performance and an allied health minor. The occupation I will be going into is physical therapy.
Q: What/if any impact did this internship have on you personally?
A: I’ve had many impacts from my internship but the biggest one is that after seeing physical therapy and asking the therapists about their work for three months I still want to go into the field of PT. It’s hard to pick a job direction especially when it has seven years of school and I was worried going into the internship that I would observe for a week and realize it wasn’t what I was expecting. It was exciting and a relief to know the field I am going to school is a great fit for me.
Q: What will you be taking away from this internship?
A: A takeaway from this internship is that in the workforce there are so many other components to a job than the original role you could be hired for and the more willing you are to do something even if you don’t really know what you’re doing doesn’t mean you can’t do it anyway. Another takeaway from this internship is to build connections with the people you are working with such as residents and staff make the job a lot more enjoyable to go to.
Q: What would you say to someone considering Fairhaven for an internship?
A: I would say definitely consider whatever focus you want from the internship if you communicate it with Brian he’ll try hard to make it happen. I was able to do physical therapy and leisure services at the same time and never felt like I didn’t get to do enough of either. The staff and residents are so much fun to work with and will give you a great first internship experience.