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“Summer” Internships: Thinking Outside the Box

Pre-COVID-19, many traditional internships offered on-site, 40-hour work weeks. In 2020, many organizations – and applicants – had to pivot. Programs were canceled and applicants were scrambling to find virtual options. [I served as a virtual preceptor last summer and it worked beautifully!]

For 2021, seize the opportunity to think outside of the box! It’s no longer a requirement to live in the same state as the program’s location. Traditional 40-hour work weeks can be rearranged into longitudinal arrangements. And here’s the best part: you are not limited to pharmacy-focused organizations (although that’s fine, too). Be bold, dream big, and be curious about what organizations fascinate you so much so that you would dedicate your time in serving. Then go seek them out.

Here’s a list of ways to think about internships differently:

· Ask if there’s a virtual option, even if it’s not listed on their website.

· Be flexible and willing to take less hours.

· Search outside of pharmacy and outside of healthcare (!) to see if an internship if available to any graduate student. Make a case of how your expertise can benefit them.

· Review posts on LinkedIn and see what excites you – even if it’s led by one pharmacist, ask if they would be open to a summer intern.

· Think beyond “summer” – especially if your curriculum is year-round. Ask programs if they would be willing to pilot a 1-2 day/week longitudinal internship.

· Tap into your college’s alumni network – ask your Dean’s office if they are aware of alumni who have taken interns in the past.

· Don’t be wary of start-ups – in fact, they may be the most flexible.

· Think beyond your pharmacy expertise: graphic design, social media, etc – add this to your request to stand out.

· Your ideas? Let us know in the comment section.

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Until next week,



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