Across Johns Hopkins, a Summer Job Is More Than ‘Just a Job’

Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program interns Kierra Reynolds, Miracle Sketers and Corshayla Robinson prepare to investigate the spread of germs by swabbing employee cellphones.

Published in Dome - September/October 2018 Dome

It was a busy eight weeks for the Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program, which offered paid summer internships throughout the Johns Hopkins Health System and The Johns Hopkins University to a record number of Baltimore City middle and high school students in 2018. Nearly 300 departments stepped up to host the 461 students.

Each student intern had a job description, received a JHED ID and attended orientation, just as a new employee would.

And, just like a new employee, each intern learned how their role fit into the Johns Hopkins mission.

“I believe every one of the students got a glimpse of what it takes to provide a sanitized, friendly and safe environment, and that they very much contributed to the patient experience,” says Florin Kuhn, a project manager in The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s environmental care department, which hosted 35 student interns this summer.

Students shadowed EVC associates to learn how to clean clinical and nonclinical areas, including operating rooms, lounges, labs and both occupied and non-occupied patient rooms. They were also trained how to introduce themselves and explain their role to patients as well as to ask “Is there anything else I can do for you?” before exiting a patient’s room.

EVC not only hosted the largest group of interns, but also saw many students return for a second or third time, a testament to the quality of the department’s internship experience.

During the Summer Jobs Program closing ceremony in August, Johns Hopkins Hospital President Redonda Miller reflected on one of her first summer jobs. She recalled working as a waitress at a Bob Evans restaurant, sporting a hairnet and polyester uniform while learning the basics of customer service. The experience she gained from being a “real part” of an organization, Miller said, is invaluable, adding that customer service is the basis for good patient care.

While summer jobs sparked career ideas for some students, others arrived with plans for the future. Daisha Washington, administrative coordinator for pediatric oncology and former summer jobs youth intern and mentor, worked with one student who hopes to be a nurse practitioner or a plastic surgeon one day. To give the student a wide range of experience, Washington arranged for her to shadow nurses and doctors and spend a day at Camp Sunrise, a weeklong camp for children who have been diagnosed with or survived cancer.

At Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the infection control department tasked its three high school interns with creating a project to identify and prevent the spread of infection. The students decided to investigate whether cellphones play a role in the spread of germs. They visited units throughout the hospital to swab staff members’ phone screens with an ATP device, which is used to swab surfaces for proteins to verify cleanliness. If readings were high, the students provided educational tips they had developed about keeping cellphones sanitized to decrease the spread of germs.