Penn State New Kensington’s biomedical equipment technology internships

Penn State New Kensington’s biomedical equipment technology internships.

 Internship Program Offers Valuable Work Experience
Pennsylvania State University, New Kensington (PSNK) offers a 2-year associate degree in biomedical engineering technology (BET). This BET program is one of three accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (TAC of ABET). The program also requires a four-credit internship.

During the BET internship, the last class in the program, students must work 400 hours in a hospital environment as biomedical engineering technicians.

The internship enables students to acquire practical experience not available in the classroom, increase awareness of career demands, identify skill strengths and weaknesses, and accumulate valid work experience. At PSNK, the BET internship program is based on the philosophy that collaborative efforts between the university and the medical community benefit all concerned. Not only does participation equip students with the skills essential to a smooth transition from school to work, it also offers employers a partnership in the training of prospective employees. Upon mastering certain field-specific competencies, students become greater assets to employers and the community.

Internship sites must be approved by BET program coordinators. Site approval largely rests upon employer cooperation in providing training necessary for completion of required competencies. It also relies on site personnel’s willingness to provide student progress evaluations. Internship sites must agree to not take advantage of the student as free labor during the internship and recognize that productivity of the BET department may decrease while it trains students.

Students then provide the BET program coordinator with at least three sites at which they would like to intern. The students prepare cover letters specific to each location and provide copies of their resumé. The BET program coordinator distributes the letters and resumés. Students are then interviewed by each hospital, which then decide what students to select for the internship.

Students may be required to obtain general liability insurance prior to beginning their internships. Insurance is relatively inexpensive to the student; cost is less than $50 per year for $1 million coverage.

Compensation to the student during his or her internship is not required by PSNK, although some hospitals choose to compensate or have requirements regarding compensation. Compensation may take the form of hourly or lump-sum payment and/or free parking, lunches, or uniforms. Students may not negotiate or make recommendations for compensation, but should accept an offer if made.

The hospital must notify the students at the time of the interview about any required pre-employment tests or physicals. Any costs associated with pre-employment tests or physicals are the responsibility of the hospital.

Students must keep a detailed journal of their daily activities. At the completion of the internship, students write a paper summarizing their experience and evaluating the BET program. The paper, journal, and internship site supervisor’s evaluation make up the course grade.

To ensure that program competencies are being achieved, the BET program coordinator contacts site supervisors several times during the internships to discuss the students’ progress. Students are also required to attend several class sessions at PSNK. In the classes they can discuss concerns and issues with other students and the program coordinator.

The internship experience is rewarding for both the students and the site supervisors. Both learn from the experience. Students also gain valuable experience to include on their resumés. On some occasions, internships lead to part-time, temporary, or full-time work at the internship site. Graduates of the BET program all comment that the internship was one of the best experiences of the program.

24×7 thanks Myron D. Hartman, MS, SASHE, CCE, CBET for contributing this overview of PSNK’s BET internship program. Hartman is program coordinator, biomedical engineering technology, at PSNK. For details on program requirements, check out the BET Web site at www.nk.psu.edu/bet/.