Students pursuing an Associates Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology at Penn State University are required to complete a 400-hour internship in an approved health care facility before graduation. This paper analyzes how the students perceive the need to be involved in the internship, including its effect on their professional development as well as on their ability to perform the tasks associated with their responsibilities. The students were asked to describe and summarize their experiences in the workplace in a daily log, to write a formal report describing in detail a project that they undertook and provide a comprehensive description of their experience. The effect of working in a Clinical Engineering department before graduation strongly increased the students' confidence in their strengths and made them aware of those items that required further attention and development. A very positive outcome from the cooperative experience was the full employment of all the students involved in the program, in the places where they carried out their internships or through contacts developed at that time. The paper also analyzes the results of a survey given to the students' supervisors. They were asked to describe and evaluate the qualities most needed in entry level biomedical engineering technicians, and how these qualities changed during the internship period for the students that they supervised. All the clinical engineering supervisors stressed the positive effects of the internship experience in creating qualified professionals in the field at the service of the society.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes