Brayden Preskenis ’21 Shadows Doctor, Explores Future Life Paths with Family Pediatrician in Ashland, OR

On the 22nd of May, 2018, I stepped into what I believed will be my future. My name is Brayden Preskenis. I’m an incoming sophomore and an undeclared (pending) biology/economics double major. When I applied to college, I wanted to be a pediatric nurse.  I was accepted into nursing programs at four universities (University of Portland, Linfield College, Eastern Oregon University and Carroll College.)  For an abundance of reasons Whitman College became my obvious top choice — forcing me to rethink nursing and consider medical school.

My internship this summer is with a local family pediatrician in a family-owned doctor’s office with two clinicians: Dr. Jani Rollins (owner) and Patrice Frires, Nurse Practitioner.  This internship is a unique opportunity for me to explore the medical field paying careful attention to the doctor/client relationship to see what elements are the right fit. In addition to “shadowing” the practitioners, I also spend time with the office manager, experiencing the logistics of running a small medical office.

Each day I wake up by 7 a.m. and bike the three miles up to Jani Rollins’ Family Doctor’s office. On the first day, I realized I forgot the key to my bike lock. I was only 10 minutes early and knew that I could not make it back to my house in time, so I did the next logical thing: stashed my bike in the bushes behind the doctor’s office. Only later did I realize that I ended up walking into the office with holly leaves stuck to my shirt and dandelion fuzz covering my dress pants — I quickly knew it was going to be a steep learning curve.  Nonetheless, I was soon introduced to my co-workers and loved seeing my workspace.

Over the past two and a half weeks I have started to settle into my formal position of doctor’s shadow/administrative assistant.   Along with faxing, scanning and/or filing hundreds of pages daily, I also serve as the happy, smiling face ready to collect insurance information and the person on call to confirm appointments. When faxing, scanning or calling patients has been completed, I begin what I love.  I have had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Rollins and observe her interactions with children, adolescents and adults.  The visits range from check-ups to vaccinations to reviewing blood work to diagnosing to prescribing medication.

The clinic staff outside the building. For my internship with Dr. Jani Rollins, I have two goals: first I would l like to understand the elements that make a family doctor and a nurse practitioner successful so that I can decide which of these would be a better fit for me, and second I want to efficiently and accurately guide patients through their intake: organizing all facets of information from the initial call when s/he asks for an appointment to the last check-in call a week after the appointment happened (and everything in between). Considering all of the paperwork, HIPAA restrictions, finance reports and billing statements, this goal is challenging. Over the next two months I have left, I will be pushing myself.  It is amazing to be in such a unique environment and see a potential future in the medical profession.

Despite only working on Siskiyou Avenue in Ashland, OR for two weeks, I know that I have made a great decision to intern in Dr. Rollin’s office. Since that first day, I have not forgotten my bike lock, only jammed the fax machine three times, and only hung up on a patient once.  Thankfully those mistakes are decreasing over time. This internship has been a great experience so far, and I am excited to continue to learn and grow. By the end of the summer I hope to know which areas of the medical profession best suit me.

Experiences like Brayden’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff.

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