(Wednesday, August 14, 2019) Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) successfully completed its 2019 Summer Hospital Internship Experience, or SHInE program, which allows interested participants the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals during a three-week learning period. This is GRMC’s second year to offer the internship program. Last year the program only included shadowing physicians. This year the opportunities were expanded for those also interested in nursing, laboratory, and rehabilitation.

This year’s SHInE program welcomed 37 participants, including Talia Rivera, a postbaccalaureate from University of Georgia, who decided to study medicine after a personal experience changed her mind about her current career track. “I had gone from job hunting, job security, to resigning after thirty days because my father’s health became critical. Cancer reached his brain and he wanted to come home,” she said. “It was the hardest thing I have had to do, but it was something that changed my outlook on life. I began to think about a career in the medical field, which is a drastic change from my degree in International Affairs and I had no clue where to start. Coincidentally, I stumbled across an ad for the SHInE Program and thought, ‘The worst that can happen is they say no.’ I got in.”

Most SHInE participants found their experience expanded their understanding of what the medical profession encompassed. “I was not only given the chance to shadow doctors around the hospital, but I was also able to get a look at the daily life in the medical field. I learned that not every day is the same. Each day something different is thrown at you and it is all about how you adjust and adapt to these changes,” said Dartmouth sophomore, Alejandra Ada, “This program allows you to look at the different specialties in the medical field. It gave me an idea as to what I am interested in and what I want to learn more about. I was able to look at the medical field in a different perspective. This program made me realize that helping people is exactly what I want to do in life.”

GRMC is happy to educate these young minds about the different opportunities available in healthcare and provide occasions to learn firsthand by shadowing providers in a hospital setting “In the hospital, every department plays an important role in helping patients feel better, which is something I didn’t understand before,” said Marquette freshman, Victoria Montinola. “Whether they are physicians, nurses, social service workers, financial counselors, lab technicians, physical therapists, or any other healthcare worker, each person in the hospital has special roles in ensuring a patient is taken care of.”

“The SHInE Program provided me with a small glimpse into the lives of different clinicians at GRMC,” said Talia, “I was amazed by Dr. Teera, a hospitalist at GRMC, because she always had a smile on her face with every patient she saw that day. She was always actively listening to what they were going through. She always seemed like she loved her job. She is going to be who I remember most.”

Students in the Physician Track started their days with morning didactic lessons led by GRMC’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Felix T. Cabrera. These lessons included basic principle of practicing medicine and the unique challenges of doing so on Guam. A workshop on applying to medical school was also part of the curriculum.

“Many of our GRMC staff reported feeling that these students are a breath of fresh air,” says Dr. Cabrera. “Listening to their passion is a great reminder as to why we entered a career in healthcare in the first place. I recall vividly being in their shoes 20 years ago and the angst that surrounded my road to becoming a doctor. I never take for granted the honor and privilege it is to practice medicine. With this comes a responsibility to help those who will one day fill our shoes.”