Leadership Challenges: Trial and Error Equals Success for Student Internship Experiences

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

This presentation will explore the dynamic relationship of program leadership and community involvement regarding internship experiences of students.  Buy-in from hospital and healthcare leadership is necessary for successful internship experiences.  Program leadership has learned how to foster these relationships through trial and error.


Hi everyone! I'm an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Health Services Administration program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. My program is fully online which allows me to live in Tampa, FL but work in Lafayette, LA.

Extended Abstract

A successful online healthcare program is driven by the students. In my online healthcare program well-developed courses, student and faculty engagement and the internship experience is what made the program standout.  The challenges of establishing relationships between program leadership and hospital/healthcare community leadership was a struggle. Many healthcare programs have internship experiences built into the curriculum.  Students thrive off of hands-on learning from practitioners and experts in the field.  The internship experience in my program was lacking focus until the relationship was strengthened between leadership on both sides of the spectrum. Once relationships were established and efficient communication was sanctioned, planning was the priority as was student success.

During the discovery session, attendees will first hear how and why the leadership relationships struggled.  Then, they will learn how trial and error of methods of communication- online and direct, face-to-face, worked to strengthen relationships and build a successful internship experience for all students.