Meet IHC intern Jeff DiDaniels

Name:  Jeff DiDaniels

Age:  22

Place of Birth:  Chester Heights, Pennsylvania

How did you first hear about IHC? I first heard about IHC from two of my friends and classmates at the University of Richmond.  Both volunteer for the organization and often told me stories about picking families up at the airport, taking children to the zoo and accompanying patients to medical appointments.  After I heard these stories, I researched the organization online.  Once I understood the mission and values of IHC, I knew I needed to get involved so I signed up to be a volunteer and later applied for an internship position.

What was your first impression of IHC? I didn’t know what to expect about IHC until I researched the organization online and met with the volunteer director.  Until that point, I was not sure if IHC was a children’s hospital in Richmond or if there was an actual hospital somewhere else internationally.  Once I learned that IHC is a “hospital without walls” and that the organization sends medical professionals on international medical mission trips and brings the especially difficult pediatric cases to Richmond hospitals for treatment, I was even more impressed.  I was also amazed that so many doctors and nurses would dedicate their time and other resources to help provide quality healthcare to children who are in need by traveling abroad or providing free healthcare.

What has been your most memorable experience since interning with IHC? I currently serve as the intern for the We Send program so I don’t work directly with the patients or their families.  My experiences have involved preparing the medical supplies and paperwork for the medical mission trips, researching medical conditions and other non-profit organizations, and assisting the We Send program staff in many other regards.  All of this work has taught me a great deal about both the non-profit and the healthcare industry. 

What has surprised you most about interning with IHC? I was surprised to find out how much work goes into planning each medical mission trip.  Everything from finding physicians and nurses to commit vacation time to the trip to getting a medical supply company to donate the necessary supplies takes a ton of time and work.  So much needs to be completed before the physicians and nurses even get on the plane to leave for the trip.  Without IHC’s staff working so diligently behind the scenes, these medical professionals would not be able to donate their time and skills.

What do you find most challenging as an intern? IHC is a very busy place, there is always a lot that needs to get accomplished and every task seems to be extremely important.  I found it very challenging to prioritize my responsibilities.  I am a Type A person so I like to complete each task before moving to the next but that is very unrealistic as an IHC intern.  Even though this has been particularly challenging for me, it has also taught me a great deal about prioritizing my tasks and about the importance of efficiency.

What do you wish other people knew about IHC? I wish that people knew exactly what it is IHC does on a day to day basis and how important that work is to children around the world.   

Why made you chose to explore an internship at IHC opposed to other groups? After volunteering for IHC, I knew that I wanted to increase my involvement.  I knew how important the work I was doing as a volunteer was but I believed that I could do even more by dedicating more time and accepting more responsibility as an intern.  Also, I plan to pursue a career in healthcare administration so I thought that gaining experience in the non-profit sector would provide a very interesting perspective on healthcare.

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