OPINION: Life of a clinical intern


Radiology senior Ebany Hanna examines hand x-rays in the radiology lab. Photo courtesy of Ebany Hanna.

In as little as six months, I am graduating! Although this is an accomplishment, that is not to say that it is not coming without its struggles. Arguably, the most challenging element of college is the financial aspect. During my last year in the radiology program, I must complete a year-long internship at the hospital or clinical site designated to me. My clinical site is at a small level IV trauma hospital, about an hour away from Wichita Falls. Before I was assigned a clinical site, I had to agree and understand that I was responsible for all expenses throughout the clinical period. However, I would’ve never imagined the cost would be so high.

As a clinical intern, there are a lot of fees to cover, and although you can apply for scholarships, you are not given a stipend to begin or continue your journey. This means that scrubs, shoes, moving expenses, gas, food, groceries, medical bills and anything else are dependent upon you. During my time at clinicals, I am also required to pass four additional courses. Therefore, tuition and any textbooks needed for those courses must also be paid for out of pocket. When I started clinical, it was not easy because the summer gas prices were unreasonably high.

Not to mention, working during clinicals is extremely difficult, to say the least. I work two jobs aside from 32 hours of clinicals during a 7-day period. In addition, as mentioned earlier, I am still required to take and pass four courses during the semester. The cost of being a clinical intern is expensive. There is not much time to spare, and there is certainly not enough money to sustain yourself. Whether I have one job or two, I must remember that being a student always comes first. However, how can I focus on clinicals while drowning in bills?

The answer to this question, I may never know. Clinicals are not only about perfecting your chosen practice but also the art of balance and managing ‘adulthood.’ Is it ideal to be working two jobs during this challenging time? No. But learning to be independent has sculpted me as a person. The life of a clinical intern is not cheap. Literally. However, once you’ve learned to adapt to the given situation, it is possible to succeed.