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Nicolas Girard (HCM)

Veterans Affairs San Diego Health System, La Jolla, California
Weekend hiking in southern California

Career goal:

Executive-level hospital administrator (e.g. CEO, COO, CCO)

Internship Outline:

This was a two-pronged internship
  • 50% of time spent rotating through 25+ services throughout the hospital, including SCM, Engineering, Environment Health and Safety
  • 50% of time spent working on individual projects, including helping establish and run the Smoke Free Workgroup to assist in transitioning the VASDHS campus to smoke-free status by October 2019
  • Performed patient and employee volume data analysis to understand the issue of insufficient parking at community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC)

Value of the experience:

  • As someone who has only had medical experience in a small, private dermatology practice, working in a major health system was overwhelming.
  • The amount of coordination, bureaucracy, and logistics that is required to run a hospital is truly staggering – and it amazes me how well the VASDHS does it.
  • I have never been in an environment where every employee seemed so committed to their job and duties.
  • My most memorial experience was the Honor Walk. I was able to participate in this ceremony and it was incredibly powerful. When certain veterans pass away, a memorial is performed. Employees and even other patients will line the hall and put their hands over their chest or at salute. A gong will be struck while words of gratitude are spoken. The veteran will be wheeled through the hall, accompanied by family, to the morgue. Even after death, the VA does all that it can to honor its veterans.