AU nursing student earns summer internship at Mayo Clinic

Wed, 2014-07-02 09:46 -- smgower
Gracie Winkler received an internship with the Mayo Clinic, working in the general surgery department.
July 2, 2014

Caring for a patient requires more than just meeting their physical needs. This summer, Gracie Winkler, a junior nursing major at Anderson University, has the opportunity to express this type of care through an internship at the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical practice and research group based out of Rochester, Minn. It accepts 50 interns into its internship program. This year Winkler was chosen out of 800 applicants.

She will begin working full time in the Mayo Clinic’s general surgery department where an instructor will guide and assist her throughout her internship. She will have the chance to take classes offered at the clinic, as well as explore other medical units that interest her.

Winkler has always loved taking care of people physically, emotionally and spiritually.

“God has blessed me with a great deal of compassion and empathy for people in need, and I want to turn it into a career,” said Winkler.

She says that her ideal career would be to become a medical missionary. Medical missionaries seek to minister to patients by spreading the gospel while caring for their physical ailments.

“I would love to have a flexible job in the states where I could work for 3-4 months and then travel abroad and train nurses in other countries for 3-4 months,” said Winkler.

One of the most valuable lessons Winkler has gained while at AU is the idea of treating patients holistically. Holistic treatment means more than just caring for a patient’s physical health.

“Being a nurse has just as much to do with emotional and spiritual healing as it does with physical health,” Winkler said.

Winkler’s internship with the Mayo Clinic will provide her with experiences in caring for patients in all aspects of their lives.

“I am confident that even though I still have a lot of learning to do clinically, I will be able to make my patients feel important and taken care of,” said Winkler.

Morgan Whitehair, a junior nursing major at AU, is confident that Winkler's patients will experience individualized care.

“I had my clinicals with Gracie last semester, and she really works to develop a good rapport with her patients,” said Whitehair. “This internship is a perfect fit for her, as well as a really great experience.”

AU’s School of Nursing is familiar with internships at the Mayo Clinic.

“It seems like every year we have a student from AU at the Mayo Clinic. We are very proud of that,” said Dr. Karen Williams, dean of the School of Nursing. “Students from all over the nation apply for those positions, and those internship positions are very coveted. It is a very exclusive internship.”

The students that complete the Mayo Clinic internship return to AU with noticeably more capabilities.

“We always find they are stronger for having had the experience,” said Williams. “The students have more self-confidence and feel like they have had an extra chance to polish their clinical skills. It also gives the students the opportunity to apply some of the things that we teach, but are not always able to do so during clinical experiences.”

Williams believes Winkler possesses many qualities that will help her succeed in her internship.

“Gracie is an excellent practitioner and has a strong desire to learn,” said Williams. “She is very enthusiastic about nursing and wants to seek out experiences that will stretch her, and this internship certainly will. She has a great opportunity, and we look forward to having her back so that we can hear all about it.”

Winkler is looking forward to working at one of the largest medical practices in America.

“I’m honored that I get to experience such an incredible program and be around some of the best medical personnel in the world,” said Winkler. “I’m most excited to just soak up some of that knowledge.”

[Photo: Junior nursing student Gracie Winkler (featured on right, with roommates Elizabeth Weinland, middle, and Chloe Radel, left) recently received an internship with the Mayo Clinic. She will be working in the general surgery department this summer.]

— Allison Boyle is a sophomore from Sykesville, Md., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Boyle is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.