It’s 5:47 a.m. Disoriented, she swings blindly at the alarm that has droned on for minutes. An internship this serious demands an early rising. Riding on an air-tight schedule, she gets ready, sparingly finishes school assignments in the early morning light, and steps kitchen-wards to the enticing fragrance of crispy waffles from mom waiting for her; then she starts the day.
But after classes, when most teens head to sports, jobs or downtime, junior Britney Powell sets her sights on a scalpel and scrubs. Injecting her keys into the ignition, she merges with hazy afternoon traffic. She steps through the Twin Cities Hospital threshold as high school drama, stress, sociability sinks below a new priority: she is to tend to each new mother and her freshly delivered child–who was born as disoriented and sleepy as she was this morning.
Powell has always been intrigued by nursing and delivering newborns. And so she serves in the TCH Obstetrics Gynecology unit, where pregnant and new parents come with babies, pregnancy scares, and hundreds of needs.
“The experience itself is way better than any job could ever give me,” Powell said. “It’s not everyday that you get to see a baby brought into the world.”
Balancing a busy social life, impressive scholastic merit, and hectic hospital hours, Powell has found a passion. Clocking in at 3 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and 5 to 10 p.m. every Saturday, she follows the same standards as those of adults, which fluctuates between five to eight people during days and evenings at
Put in a position to meet, greet, and treat patients, Powell carries out entry level duties of other nurses on scene. “I make beds, take vitals, watch exams and assist in deliveries,” Powell said.
In this sophisticated atmosphere, where life or death decisions exist, she has developed composure and level-headedness.
The encouragement of friends and family in her journey has motivated Powell to hold nothing back as she ventures through her internship.
“My parents are really supportive because they have known that I’ve wanted to go into the medical field since I was little. For them, it’s exciting to see their kid pursuing what she wants to do in life. My friends are really supportive, too,” she said.
At PRHS, Powell is currently enduring Anatomy, AP Bio, AP language, and Community Health Care, all of which she explains, have been “a much bigger workload.”
As an athlete, Powell played water polo for two years. Her internship and course load made sports impossible this year. But Community Health Care Club, a school-based organization Powell found has piqued her interest, as it gathers students interested in medical futures.
“I plan to get my bachelor’s (degree) in nursing,” Powell said. “It requires me to go into pre-nursing and then two years of General Ed. I’ll be taking nursing courses and do clinical hours, stimulation labs, etc. I have even been looking at colleges for awhile.” Nursing will most likely be the focus of Powell’s studies in her collegiate days and future.
Her internship is unpaid, but she still views a considerable future in her work and values much of the
time spent patrolling the sterilized hospital corridors.
“I have always wanted to be a delivery nurse or just a nurse in general,” she said. “ I just love going [to Twin Cities]. It is something I would definitely want to pursue.”
Risk and reward play huge roles into Powell’s decision-making. She admits that pursuing a medical internship over an occupation with a paid salary has required dedication and sacrifice in her social and academic schedule.
On average, obstetricians and gynecologists earn a wage upwards of $90 an hour and $187,000
Powell said she owes it all to the Athletic Training/Community Health Care teacher Kelly Franks and senior Chanel Vega, a companion with whom she works at Twin Cities. Vega relayed this medical opportunity she received through a Sports Medicine class junior year.
Powell explained that the process of application towards her internship was just about as enduring and complicated as childbirth itself. It included filling out forms and documents, getting her flu shot and a set of TB shots, submitting a drug test, a seven hour hospital orientation, and a face-to-face interview with the head of Human Resources for recommendation. Powell passed and began her internship, which has been a five month journey since October 2015.
Powell believes to have achieved this coherence of pleasure and professionality in the workplace.
“Every time there is a birth, I tear up,” Powell said about her first-hand experience with labor. “It’s such a precious and emotional moment.”
As it happens, Gynecology is no picnic; it’s chaotic, graphic, and downright revolting at times. But Powell has found that delivering children and assisting wailing mothers is just part of the job description.
“Every newborn is precious and having the privilege to be a part of that experience is truly humbling,” she said. “Medical work is messy and each patient is different, but it’s not every day you get to a see a life brought into the world.”