WEST READING, PA — For nearly a decade, Reading Hospital has partnered with local high schools to share healthcare career pathways with students. On September 11, Reading Hospital welcomed 29 high school interns as part of the Reading Hospital High School Internship Program. Of those, 26 students will participate in a full-year internship while three will participate during the spring semester.
The program, which first expanded to all Berks County school districts for the 2022-2023 academic year, will host students from 12 local Berks County school districts, including Antietam, Boyertown, Conrad Weiser, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Muhlenberg, Oley Valley, Reading, Schuylkill Valley, Tulpehocken, Wilson, and Wyomissing. This is the first year that students from Antietam, Boyertown, Schuylkill Valley, Tulpehocken, and Wyomissing school districts will be participating.
Hansika Kundru, an Exeter High School student and current volunteer in the hospital’s Emergency Department, will intern in the NICU this year. In the future, she hopes to become a pediatrician or neonatologist. “I like being here because everyone is so friendly,” she said. “I think the Intern program will broaden my horizons and explores a new setting in the hospital.”
On their first day in the program, students toured the hospital and met with hospitals leaders, including P. Sue Perrotty, Tower Health president and CEO, and Charles F. Barbera, MD, Reading Hospital president and CEO.
Dr. Barbera studied English and Communications in college. “I wasn’t considering a career in healthcare until I completed an internship at a hospital,” he shared with the students. “These experiences are life changing.”
He also spoke to the important shift in healthcare to focus on prevention. “We work to focus on how to keep patients well by preventing things such as chronic disease and accidents,” he said. “Throughout your career you’ll have the opportunity to make an impact in this area and we need your help while you are here.”
Ms. Perrotty encouraged the students to consider a career in healthcare, which can go in many different directions thanks to opportunities in operational and clinical departments. “Hospitals are just like a city. We’re open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, we will never close. To be successful we need individuals in clinical roles, of course, but we also need finance, IT, Marketing, Facilities, Human Resources, and so many more,” she said “Thank you for participating in this special program. We hope it will enrich you as much as it enriches our team.”