Breadcrumbs

Ashleigh Williams reflects on her internship as a clinical intern

Be. Employed intern Ashleigh Williams The internship finished with a lovely morning tea with all the staff both clinical and lab attending.

During my 10-week internship I was working at Wellington Regional Genetics Laboratory, in both the clinical (genetic counsellors) and laboratory sides of the department.

While working in the clinic side I learnt what and how genetic counsellors do in their day to day work life. Working only on a Monday for them I attended staff Skype sessions discussing clinics the counsellors conducted with issues that arose during them. The main things I did however, was draw out pedigrees and end patient data into a computer algorithm that calculated patients’ probability of certain cancers inherited or not through family history. Both these jobs helped the preparation of the counsellors for their upcoming clinics. I also attended a few clinics with the genetics counsellors just sitting in and understanding how they conduct a clinic.

Then while working in the laboratory I shadowed a senior cytogeneticist in the process of what they do with all the samples that come into the lab. From this I leant how to harvest chromosomes from DNA, prepare them onto a slide for visualization, and how to karyotype those chromosomes to give a diagnostic result. Whilst there, George (the senior cytogeneticist) gave me a project which was in attempt to produce a new technique to help with analysis of chromosomes on the same day as a sample coming in.

Unfortunately, this project had many close attempted but didn't succeed. However, this result allowed the team to know the process they were doing was currently the fastest way. Furthermore, while working there I assisted in some administrative jobs, such as adding patient files to a database to be sent offsite. This was a big help to them as it is a huge task.

For now, I am currently finishing my Bachelor of Science degree down at the University of Otago and return back to Dunedin to do postgraduate studies.

With the help of Sarah and Jake this internship wouldn't have been possible! The work experience and knowledge I obtained out of this is incredible!