Working Warriors: Andrea Cervizzi ’21 Finds Meaningful Internship in Healthcare Industry During COVID-19

Andrea Cervizzi, Class of 2021, has been involved at Merrimack College as an Austin Scholar, an Orientation Leader, and in the Health Science Club. She started her internship as a nursing assistant in May at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and will continue to work there beyond her August end date as an intern.

Q: Can you talk about the process of finding and applying for your internship?

A: It was long but definitely worth it in the end. I began applying in late November for any and all part time and per diem nursing assistant jobs in the Merrimack Valley area. After not hearing back for over a month, I began applying to even more positions through hospital websites and Handshake. Around mid-January, I finally started getting call backs for interviews. After several calls with Lahey Hospital’s human resource team, I was able to get a face-to-face interview where I received my offer on the spot in early February.

Patience is very important when applying for jobs. Sometimes companies will not contact you for a few months after you submit your application. It is important to stay in touch with them about the timeline, but it is also important not to settle for a job just because you had not heard back from the ones you were actually looking forward to interviewing for. One tip I would give to follow Merrimack students is to apply to more positions than you would think to. It allows you to practice interviewing, negotiate, have options, and expose you to a large network of people in your field.

Q: What was the interview process like?

A: As someone who has always struggled with interviewing, I made sure I went into this interview 120% prepared. I practiced my interview skills on Quinncia, a state-of-the-art technology resource offered through the O’Brien Center, by doing one of their mock interview sessions. I also had my mom role play common interview questions over and over to become more comfortable with my answers. This step was what made my interview so successful and lessened my fears. The interview itself was made up of two nurse managers and me. I brought copies of my resume for both of them which sparked most of their questions just by reading my work history. I also went into the interview with a notepad with four to five questions on it for them. They complimented the fact that I came prepared with questions for them.

My advice is – do your research before arriving. You should know information about the company, the responsibilities of the position you are applying for, and you should come with questions to make you look extra interested in the position. I always say, “an interview is two sided, they are looking to get to know you as you are looking to get to know them.” The more questions you have for them, the less they will ask you. Some of the questions were:

  • “Tell us about yourself”
  • “Tell a time you were faced with a difficult situation and how did you handle it?”
  • “Tell me about your responsibilities when you worked at …”
  • “Why do you want to work as a nursing assistant?”

Advice I would give about interviewing is to keep your answers short and sweet and to practice, practice, practice!

Q: Can you elaborate on your day-to-day job responsibilities?

A: As a nursing assistant my main role is to provide basic care to patients and assist them in daily activities. My responsibilities include bathe and dress patients, help patients eat, take vital signs, turn or reposition patients in bed, assist them to the bathroom, and help the nurses in any way possible. The job is not glamorous and can be gruesome at times. From dressing wounds to cleaning patients, nursing assistants are essential to patient care.

However, the best part about working for Lahey Hospital and Medical Center is the interaction with all different healthcare professionals on a daily basis. On a normal day, I could interact with nurses, doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respirator therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and the list goes on. People skills are essential. Most of our patients are not happy about being in the hospital so being able to have a conversation with them and allowing them to feel comforted and heard is very important.

Q: How was Merrimack able to help prepare you?

A: The O’Brien Center for Career Development helped me create my resume during the fall 2018 semester, and I still use the same structure for my resume to this day. The O’Brien Center made it so easy for me. I simply went to their drop-in hours and showed them the unprofessional resume I had made in high school and they were able to help me create the one I have today.

Q: Is there any advice you have for Merrimack students with regard to career development, interviewing, or applying for positions?

A: The O’Brien Center resources are there to help us all succeed. My advice is simple-USE THEM! They are there to help students succeed professionally, and they will assist in any way possible. They offer resume and cover letter help. They will host a mock interview for you. They will help decide what jobs to apply for. They can teach you how to negotiate an offer, and so on. They are available to Merrimack students and alumni and it would be foolish not to utilize the resources.

By Marge Dwyer
Marge Dwyer Director of Communications Marge Dwyer