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Anatomy of an Internship, HCFM-style

Molly Marcotte was a college student looking for an internship. Larry Williams was a Health Care Facility Director looking for an intern. Gosselin Associates was a healthcare firm looking at a 12-hour round trip to Castine, ME.  

Collectively, they worked to provide an aspiring engineer a 10-week summer healthcare immersion.

Beginnings

elizabeth crew

When Jack Gosselin and Peter Martin of Gosselin Associates traveled to Castine, ME, on a blustery spring day in 2014 their goal was simple: Introduce the HCFM career possibility to engineering students at a prominent maritime academy, Maine Maritime.

After a hour-long presentation, Molly Marcotte, a then-sophomore majoring in Marine Systems Engineering Design, approached and asked for assistance in obtaining a healthcare internship. Martin put Molly in touch with former colleagues at Steward Health Care. Soon after she had an internship at St. Elizabeth’s (Brighton, MA), the flagship of Steward’s 11-hospital system.  

“I provided internships to students prior to Molly and the experience was not always positive. But Molly was different. She was willing to learn, engaged, and asked us for jobs to do. We provided her an opportunity and she ran with it,” says St. E’s Facility Director Larry Williams.

Internships aren’t common in healthcare facilities. A recent symposium held by the Gosselin Associates Education Advisory Board, a group composed of healthcare and higher education professionals, lamented the lack of HCFM internships. As current facility directors age out of their role, talent to fill employment gaps is hard to find.  

“We learn about HVAC and diesel mechanics at school, but I was amazed at the number of hospital systems that integrate daily, from robotics to medical gas. There is so much going on in a facility, anything can happen on any day,” says Molly. 

Molly shadowed Larry and Facility Manager Don Mehagan. With 7 active construction projects there was plenty for her to do. She participated in weekly Owner/Architect/Contractor meetings and walked with architects as they punch-listed space. She spent time with trades in St. E’s high pressure plant and participated in planning to hoist a rooftop unit. She supported administrative functions such as billing and documentation, worked weekends, and made EOC rounds. 

“You see so many items when you work with staff. Every little thing, like missing screws or incorrect as-builts, is observed. It was eye-opening,” Molly recalled.  

 

Providing a real-world window offered the future-engineer an appreciation for HCFM. “There are many aspects of engineering that I now see as opportunities thanks to my Steward experience.”

Be sure to tell your engineering friends, Molly.

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Gosselin Associates provides facilities management search consulting to the health care industry...

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