During my internship I have had many different experiences. Most days I sit on my laptop at whatever desk is free in the lab that day and endlessly search for different articles, reviewing what experiments and research has been done in the past and what methods others have employed. Don’t get me wrong, I find the literature review aspect interesting and immensely informative. It’s a look into the wide field of neuropsychology that I someday plan to join, and maybe someday an intern like myself will be researching an experiment that I have done, or questioning why I employed certain methods over others. However, a couple of times a week I have those opportunities when I am able to participate with the patient population at the Veterans Hospital. It’s not mainly what I do, but those few hours in the week are most definitely my favorite experiences during the week.
Working with the patients has been very eye-opening. I often hear many stories of days long gone or the exciting plans that some have for when they get to leave and go home. Connecting on that personal level is extremely important for test administration, as the patients need to trust you to have their best interests at heart. Often time patients get worried when someone comes into their room and says they need to do some testing on their thinking abilities. Reassuring the patients that this kind of thing is normal practice and being able to watch them get more comfortable is so satisfying to see. The best experiences are being with a patient whom finds the whole experience interesting and so they try really hard on the tests and put in their best effort. That’s not always the case with this type of population, because often time people in hospitals are tired or in pain and would rather not doing anything. So getting to work with an enthusiastic patient who finds what you’re doing interesting is always a favorite experience of mine.