Why interns are awesome!

We should face reality and thus realize that nowadays’ students are not the students we used to be in the past.

Tom van de Belt

Assistant Professor Digital Health

Recently, a new batch of students started their internship at the Radboudumc REshape Innovation Center. Most of them study Medicine or Biomedical Sciences at the Radboud University, but we also see students from the Han University of Applied Sciences, studying Communication and Multimedia Design. I would like to share some thoughts related to this topic and describe why interns are important for healthcare.

First of all, many of my colleagues (including myself) think that we never get older and that we’re still are some kind of (PhD-) students. This is great – of course – as it helps us to be curious, enthusiastic and think out of the box. However, we should face reality and thus realize that nowadays’ students are not the students we used to be in the past. It’s not even close. The students of today are smarter, faster, they don’t ‘learn’ but ‘know where to find’ and most importantly: they are not biased by experience (healthcare practice, grant proposal induced stress, financial & legislation issues etc.). Even though I still see students on a daily basis, e.g. with lectures and lunch breaks, I can still learn a lot from them. This is not only related to professional topics, they also taught me a lot about daily life value such of social media such as effective communication via ‘SnapChat’. As a result, I now use several new social media channels for efficient communication.

Second, students are so much more than just helping hands. Of course, it is great to create a team and get the data collection done within weeks instead of months, but they can also improve the quality of your work by asking critical questions and force you to clearly explain every detail of your protocol. Furthermore, they are the healthcare professionals of the future, so we need to know about their needs and preferences and potentially start reshaping healthcare based on their needs.

Third and last, students inspire me. Most of them focus on opportunities, have interesting new ideas and solutions, and are not afraid to present them in an energetic way. Although their plans are not always feasible, this still helps to look at things from other perspectives.

However, there is one thing that you should keep in mind. That is, that you should always select the top or high-potential students. It can be hard, but you should realize that you could never supervise just every enthusiastic student. You need smart and independent students that have convinced you about their (sometimes still hidden) qualities and skills. Below, I proudly present our current REshape students, supervised by our team. They are the follow up of many talented students coming here before them and they will introduce themselves on our website soon.

Missing on photo: Pien Koopmans, Tim Chau