Student Spotlight: Emilia Kunickas

Emilia Kunickas at right smiles outside the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab where she is an intern

The summer break from classes offers college students an opportunity to learn more about their fields of interest, gain practical experiences and create connections that may lead to job offers after graduation.

Case Western Reserve students are using this time to explore roles as diverse as wilderness therapy in Colorado to research for the League of Women Voters in Washington, D.C. to collecting DNA sequences in a campus biology lab.

In recognition of National Intern Day today, July 27—a date established by WayUp in 2017—we’re highlighting the internships some of our students are enjoying this summer.

Read the full story from The Daily.

Emilia Kunickas is still adjusting to working several 12-hour shifts each week for her summer internship at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

The second-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing student spends those hours alternating working as a patient care technician and shadowing senior nurses as a nurse intern.

Kunickas said she is thankful for her experiences at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing—especially the opportunity to begin clinicals during her first year—which helped her become more comfortable and familiar with a hospital setting. She has been able to help provide feeding tubes and catheterizations to patients, procedures she learned in the classroom and simulation labs at Case Western Reserve.

As the top-ranked rehabilitation hospital in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report, the AbilityLab is home to medical professionals who focus on physical medicine and translational research. Specifically, they work with adults and children who have severe and complex conditions such as amputations, traumatic brain injuries and cancer-related impairments. 

It’s the translational research that has opened Kunickas’ eyes to the importance of collaboration and how different perspectives can benefit a patient’s care.

“At Shirley Ryan, nurses work very closely with physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as other clinicians and even technology scientists. Each week we do rounds together and we discuss what strengths and weaknesses we see in patients from different specialities,” she said. “This collaboration helps keep everybody on the same page and give updated goals for the patients, with the goal of getting them healthy again and discharged.

“This opportunity gives me the perfect balance of being able to provide direct patient care that’s within my current scope of practice while allowing me to gain valuable insight on what my future career might look like in other ways,” she continued. “Plus, I didn’t know much about rehabilitation nursing and this internship has opened my eyes to this field.”