Health Care Ethics Alumni
During her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, Sheedy (a Health Care Ethics Intern in 2006-07) knew that she wanted to go into the medical field and was interested in becoming a physician assistant (PA). The internship built confidence in her decision to follow and be prepared for the PA track. A couple of the memories Sheedy looks back on during her time as an intern are those when she sat in on meetings with families who were making end-of-life decisions for a loved one. She was able to witness all of the individuals who play a role in helping support families and patients during these emotional times. "I vowed then that in my future career I would be conscious of the implications of medical decisions and conscientious with the people who had to make those decisions," Sheedy said. She believes the Health Care Ethics Internship is one of the most personal, "patient-contact" experiences an undergraduate student can have in the medical field. After graduation, Sheedy went on to attend PA school with a bioethics emphasis and currently works with patients who have head and neck cancers. She takes with her the lessons she learned during her time as an intern about the need to slow down, communicate, weigh options, share concerns, and reach a collective, ethical decision about the care to be delivered and received, because medicine is a two-way street with infinite gray areas. Sheedy leaves us with this question, "Of course research and education are necessary for good medicine, but what would the practice of medicine be without an ethical and moral compass?"
Reflection on the Health Care Ethics Internship
Elizabeth "Liz" Connelly, pictured here with Anna Kozas, who coordinates the Health Care Ethics Internship Program, was an intern and also held the Honzel Fellowship, serving as a peer mentor for other interns. Through the program, she learned "how human emotions are not extraneous barriers to providing accurate and quality care. Instead, they are equal partners in the creation of the patient's situation and therefore should be equally important in caring for patients."