Aug 15, 2016

An Internship in Health Care, Thanks to Tuck Gives

By Mark Seelen T'17

This summer, with support from Tuck GIVES, I interned at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Perioperative Services, learning a tremendous amount about how a hospital functions. My department was responsible for the operations and administration of in-patient and ambulatory surgery, with a daily volume of approximately 150 surgical cases. In addition to the high daily volume, the management of the operating rooms is extremely complex due to the high acuity of patients and the precision needed to control the throughput of patients from their arrival to their departure, being constrained by patient mix, staffing needs, and institutional bed capacity.

I was provided exposure to many diverse and fascinating projects across the institution, while also being assigned specific assignments in my department. My projects namely focused on the flow and storage of surgical instrumentation, applying many of the concepts that I learned in my operations management classes at Tuck. I was afforded incredible trust and access across the hospital, and I felt that I was able to add value as a non-clinician, bringing a different perspective to the discussion.

This experience really clarified my career goals, learning that the challenges and opportunities at a large academic medical center are a great fit for me. Coming from the military, I was seeking another mission-oriented organization, where I could positively impact people and be part of something greater than myself. I certainly found that sense of purpose this summer. There is one quote by MGH’s founders, which really forms the foundation of the institution: “When in distress, every man becomes our neighbor.” This notion still rings true today, with MGH possibly providing the last hope for a patient and his or her family. This is a very powerful mission to get behind.

Finally, I was fortunate to find several mentors who sought to help my development as a future hospital administrator. It was clear that these individuals really cared about the four pillar mission of MGH: patient care, research, education, and the community. Their motivation and desire for continuous improvement in health care was certainly infectious (in a good way). I will incorporate what I learned this summer, continuing my education this year at Tuck and The Dartmouth Institute, to further prepare for a career in health care delivery.