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McKenna Kelly, Jacob Wagner, Matt Magruder, Marie Murray.
McKenna Kelly, Jacob Wagner, Matt Magruder, Marie Murray.

Four Hamilton students who plan careers in medicine are gaining valuable clinical experience working directly with patients at the Burke Rehabilitation Center, in White Plains, N.Y. The students, McKenna Kelly ’15, Marie Murray ’15, Matt Magruder ’15 and Jacob Wagner ’15 have been working as nurses’ assistants at the hospital since the end of May. This summer marks the 26th year that Hamilton students have worked at Burke, and the opportunity has offered a wonderful introduction to medicine for more than 140 physicians and nurse practitioners currently in practice.

Students’ daily responsibilities include taking vital signs, helping patients to get dressed and use the bathroom, transporting patients to and from therapies, and assisting patients with anything they may need during the day. The students have been warmly welcomed into the Burke community by patients and staff alike.  The older patients particularly enjoy seeing the younger students and are eager to learn about the students’ education and medical ambitions.

The students agree that their Burke experience is beyond anything they could have hoped for.  McKenna Kelly writes, “The opportunities that are available to us here at Burke give us the chance to see and understand what interacting with patients really entails.  Now that we are feeling more comfortable on our units and with our colleagues it's great to look back to the beginning of the summer and to realize how much we have learned in a relatively short amount of time!”

The hospital generously provides housing for the Hamilton students. Burke is located on a 61-acre campus in White Plains, and includes an inpatient hospital (150 beds), an outpatient clinic, a public gym, a Montessori pre-school and a research center. Patients come to the inpatient hospital after strokes, brain or spinal cord trauma, unilateral or bilateral joint replacement, open-heart surgery or diagnosis with severe pulmonary disorders. Burke is unique because it offers patients four to five hours of intense physical and occupational therapy per day as they recover. The average patient stay at the inpatient hospital is 12 days. 

In addition to their daily tasks, the students have the opportunity to interact with a number of different health professionals each week, and come to understand the importance of teamwork in medicine. The doctors at Burke are ordinarily happy to talk with the students about their research or to bring a student or two along on their daily rounds. Every Tuesday and Thursday the Hamilton students attend a lecture given by a doctor, therapist, administrator or other health professional.  Once a week a prominent guest speaker lectures at the hospital and the doctors and therapists learn about the latest research.

Working at Burke gives students a chance to explore medicine and to make certain they have the personal skills to care for patients.

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