At the beginning of Spring semester, I had the opportunity to interview at Care Ring in hopes of securing an internship with a local non-profit in the Charlotte community. Fortunately, the interview went well and I was scheduled to spend the first five weeks of the summer partnering with Care Ring and the local community of Charlotte. Originally, I was going to have the opportunity to partake in many hands-on activities such as volunteering in the clinic, sitting in on board meetings, and participating with Care Ring’s Nurse-Family Partnership program in home health and wellness visits. I was so excited to be a part of these amazing experiences and couldn’t wait for the internship to being…and then COVID-19 began spreading across the globe and eventually our own city of Charlotte was directly impacted. When we were told the rest of the semester was going to be virtual, I was devastated- I knew this meant my internship was probably not going to happen. However, after several emails and phone calls between LSP, Care Ring, and myself I was elated to discover the director of Care Ring, Dr. Jonas, was 110% on board with moving my internship virtually. Despite the internship still planning to move forward remotely, I was skeptical of how the internship would actually function. Would I be getting the same experience as being there in person? Would I learn as much as I would if I was there? Would I still be able to help my community?
Now, three weeks into my eight-week remote internship, I am beginning to learn how amazing it is to be part of a remote internship. I was most nervous about not being able to work with the community, but two of the projects I am currently working on revolve directly around community engagement. Whether directly interviewing clients and their experience with Care Ring for a storybooking project or designing a landing page to help non-profits address the changes made by COVID-19, I can see that my work (while remote) is meaningful and leads to good in the Charlotte community.
Overall, a remote internship is a lot more flexible and engaging than I originally thought possible. I am busy but I am also able to work from the comfort of my home and spend time with my family, which is an opportunity I would not have had if I was in Charlotte for the summer. I am still able to participate in meetings and attend webinars on how healthcare organizations are addressing the changes implemented by COVID-19. Working with Care Ring remotely, I feel that I am an important part of the team even though I am working over 200 miles away from Charlotte. I feel that I have a direct connection with the community I have been a part of for the past year and I am glad I can still work toward making it a better place. Care Ring has allowed me to gain a positive internship experience as well as to continue to help my community in a time where help is needed, and for that I am so very grateful.