Ben Houston, a senior journalism student specializing in public relations, talks about his summer internship with Franciscan St. Francis Health
Working for a hospital was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. All through middle school and high school, I wanted to be a surgeon. Since then, I’ve changed my career path a number of times from working in law, education, news media, and now PR, but working in the health field is one thin
This summer I finally achieved that goal by becoming a marketing and media relations intern for Franciscan St. Francis Health. While I’m not saving lives or curing diseases, my responsibilities are still highly rewarding. A lot of what I do is write stories, features, or press releases about interesting and/or inspiring happenings or people. I’ve written about the health network itself, patients, and employees from the medical and non-medical sides. For a lot of companies that can feel very artificial and like it’s done for the sole purpose of making the company look good. While what I’m doing is also promoting a business, Franciscan is different as it comes from a place of caring and healing first and foremost. So when I write a story about how nurses are sacrificing personal time to go back to school to get more degrees, it’s true that I’m promoting the fact that our nurses are very well trained and better trained in comparison to other places, but I don’t feel guilty because the reason the nurses decide to do such a thing is because they care so much about their work and their patients. This process has made my work very enjoyable as I feel like it gives me an avenue to showcase people and groups who deserve some attention for the work they do.
Other responsibilities I have are working on social media posts with the other intern, working on marketing campaigns, writing and pitch press releases, and acting as a supporting role to all employees in the marketing department and their service lines. Working on campaigns has been particularly fun, especially when setting up and attending photo shoots and TV commercial shoots.
I’ve learned a lot from this internship so far this summer. I’ve learned a lot of PR techniques and learned many tips and tricks for marketing. What has been the most useful thing so far is simply the experience of actually working in the real world. I’ve been told internships are useful because they give you real world experience, but I guess I had just never put two and two together. I’ve learned the differences from school life to work life and balancing the two. I’ve learned what it’s like to work in a big company that requires dozens of people to complete instead of a few people like a group project.
My internship has been invaluable to me. It’s taught me so much in just a few short months. Learning real world lessons from first hand experience has not only matured me as a student of PR but has also matured me as an adult. I understand the professional world and those in it better than when I came in. Thanks to my internship, the next time going into the professional world will be infinitely easier.
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