July 22, 2016

Intern Report: Taking a Risk

Patrick Glicker is a candidate in the full-time MBA program.

There are a variety of strategies full-time MBA students use when it comes to selecting a summer internship. My strategy was to take a risk and target internship opportunities that were going to challenge me to think differently.  I did this by seeking opportunities in an industry and a job function in which I had no experience.  I wanted to use the opportunity to reach beyond my comfort zone, and gain exposure to a less familiar field.  My search led me to accept an offer as a Continuous Improvement (CI) Intern at the Cleveland Clinic.  This internship was especially interesting because continuous improvement methods are relatively new to the healthcare industry.

I am now more than halfway through the internship and I continue to be challenged and learn each day.  I am one of about thirty caregivers (employees) in the CI department.  Each one of us is working towards the primary mission of creating a culture in which every caregiver is empowered, capable, and expected to make improvements every day.  With approximately 49,000 caregivers working at the Cleveland Clinic, this is no small task.  However, our Continuous Improvement department does not simply complete projects on others’ behalf.  We operate under an inclusive model that functions and thrives on the input and feedback of caregivers throughout the Clinic.  Caregivers identify the problems, and my department empowers caregivers to use data and identify potential solutions. In sum, my Continuous Improvement department serves as a coaches and leads other groups through the process of making their own improvements.

I have been assigned to three projects for the summer.  First, I am coaching the Community Outreach department to determine why they have been unable to receive a return on investment report in over two years.  Second, I am supporting the Art Program to develop the capability to forecast their resource requirements.  Third, I am assisting a CI team and a group of 60 caregivers to better define and unify their roles within the Clinic. Each of these projects have challenged me to think differently about healthcare and the role of a leader.  The CI process has also led me to reflect on a new way to approach improvements to my own personal career development.  I am so grateful that I took a risk and was able to gain new skills that I never anticipated.   

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