Competitive program provides valuable career experience
Two University of Mississippi pharmacy students have completed prestigious internships with the Mayo Clinic, the nation’s top-ranked hospital.
Rising third-year pharmacy students Cameron Hammers, of Perkinston, and Katie Kreusel, of Dacula, Georgia, were among only 10 pharmacy interns accepted into the Mayo Clinic’s highly competitive Summer Pharmacy Internship Program in Rochester, Minnesota.
“After meeting with the intern coordinator, he said that my personability during the interview made me stand out,” Hammers said. “I think that the diversity of my pharmacy school experiences gave me confidence in my abilities where I could worry less about proving competency and more about showcasing my personality and professionalism.”
Kreusel pointed to opportunities she has been afforded through the university as part of the reason for her selection and success in the program.
“Taking advantage of leadership and research opportunities at Ole Miss, as well as previous summer internships at the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are what prepared me for not only applying but also being successful in this internship program,” Kreusel said.
The 10-week program includes professional development opportunities, involvement in clinical quality improvement projects and a once-a-week mini-rotation of each intern’s choosing. Interns in the program work closely with world-class pharmacists, providers, scientists and allied health staff.
“I am so proud of Katie and Cameron for pursuing summer internships and then turning their internships into opportunities for growth, learning and making a difference,” said Donna Strum, dean of the School of Pharmacy.
According to the hospital, the purpose of the program is to develop and refine skills in project management and professional development while participating in mini-rotation experiences that offer insight into career paths and introduce interns to virtually every area of the profession.
“At Mayo, I saw pharmacists operating at the top of their licenses, which showed me the impact that pharmacy can have on a health system,” Hammers said.
Both students were able to participate in a wide variety of mini-rotations during their internships, ranging from heart/lung transplant to immunocompromised intensive care to pharmacogenomics.
“I discovered my passion for working with immunocompromised patients in the ambulatory care setting,” Kreusel said. “Specifically, I really enjoyed learning more about the role of a pharmacist in solid organ transplant, irritable bowel disease and HIV specialties.”
Hammers said he appreciated the opportunity to see specialty outpatient ambulatory care and observing pharmacists’ clinical decision making with complex patient care regimens.
What did they get out of the overall experience? Reassurance. Hammers said he is more certain than ever that he wants a career path in oncology, with Kreusel echoing a similar certainty in her plans to pursue a residency in solid organ transplant.
“Interning at Mayo allowed me to experience pharmacy practice within another health system, as well as helped reassure me of my post-graduate plans,” Kreusel said. “We were also able to work alongside students from other universities and learn from their various backgrounds and experiences.”
By Natalie Ehrhardt