UH Hilo pre-nursing student Morgan Tate writes about her summer internship

The thing about being an undergraduate is that you need to get out there, find an internship opportunity and own it.

By Morgan Tate.

This is the second in a series written by UH Hilo students about their 2016 summer internship experiences.

Morgan Tate
Morgan Tate

My name is Morgan Tate and I am a senior at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I’m 20 years of age and double majoring in pre-nursing and environmental science.

The thing about being an undergraduate is that you need to get out there, find an internship opportunity and own it.

I’ve found that people can go a long way by having connections. Knowing who to talk to and keeping in touch are important for your toolbox, and there is no amount of written or verbal acrobatics that can fully convince an intern supervisor of an intern’s abilities. The person must show everyone that they can live up to and exceed their résumé and recommendations.


Over Christmas break, I began looking for internship and volunteer opportunities back home in Washington State for pre-nursing students like myself. In addition, I spread the word to friends, family and co-workers. (Hint: this is where having connections is important.)

Around early January, an acquaintance gave me the contact information for the chief operations officer for the Lake Chelan Community Hospital and Clinics. After applying and being accepted, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to begin in June. This was a step toward the life I wanted to live, an opportunity to be in the environment I will be a part of after I graduate.


This is what I did this summer.

The first two days of interning involved compiling various post-surgery informational packets and arranging basic scheduling. These were not very exciting tasks, but they were important all the same. By completing these jobs fully and with a positive attitude, I showed the COO that I was serious about interning at the clinic. I wasn’t only there for the hours; I was there for the experience. (Hint: this is where being passionate about the small things is important).

On the third day, I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Lake Chelan Physical Therapy Center within the local hospital as a temporary physician’s aid. I was floored by the offer and accepted immediately.

As the summer months flew by, I learned and absorbed things I didn’t even know I was clueless about. That is the beauty of being submersed into a completely new environment and thriving.

I learned how to take patients off of an electric stimulator, properly worked through procedures for new and returning patients, and spent my time with four incredible therapists. I learned the ins and outs of being in a health profession and was fascinated by all the behind-the-scenes work that occurred to make positive health care possible. The days started early and ended with a smile.

After three weeks, I was given access to electronic patient health records (CPSI) to help schedule inpatients and learn the goings-on of insurance. The primary physical therapist at the hospital encouraged me to ask questions, something that may feel awkward but is one of the best gifts an aspiring nurse could have. I shadowed a physical therapist when he made orthotics for his patients and observed an occupational therapist working with children.


What I truly came to appreciate is that interning is not only about gaining enough hours on paper to meet application requirements. Participating in an internship is about learning new material in a new environment and showing your superiors that you are dedicated and actively interested in the present as well as the future.

I had a little help from my acquaintances and that, coupled with a lot of passion for nursing, helped spur me in the right direction. It is daunting to clear a road toward the future, but I now have a glimpse of what is along that road, and I can’t wait to pave it.

Working with each therapist at Lake Chelan Community Hospital this past summer was one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences I have had. Now I have new goals for this school year and a stronger résumé for my upcoming application to UH Hilo Nursing Program. I’m ready for the next step. Are you?


Also in this series on summer internships:

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Hawaiian language student & scholar Kamalani Johnson writes about his apprenticeship

UH Hilo students Erin Busch and Tim Zimmerman write about their internships in China

UH Hilo business & communication student Christine Presiados: “I was determined to get this internship”

UH Hilo business major Lara Hughes writes about “My summer internship at the 2016 Democratic National Convention”

-UH Hilo Stories