This summer we had the privilege of working with medical students in the Philadelphia area through the Bridging The Gaps program! In this blog series, we’ll highlight the people behind the program and learn more about our interns who helped us so much this summer.
Tell us more about yourself!
My name is Kaylyn Hudson and I am currently a second year student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and currently live in Orlando, Florida. My hope for the future is to become a pediatric dentist who sees patients with a wide range of physical and intellectual disabilities. I have had a passion for serving the disability community since I was six years old.
When you heard that you were going to join HMS School for this opportunity, what were you most looking forward to or looking to gain?
When I first heard that I was going to join the HMS School family I was really excited to become more informed about the cerebral palsy community. I only knew small amount about this community, so I knew that I had so much to learn. I was excited to become more educated in a hands-on environment where I could learn about this population and how I can better treat this population in the future.
What was your favorite part about this internship experience?
My favorite part about my summer at HMS School was the relationships that I had made. I enjoyed building meaningful relationships with both staff and students. I valued each student in my classes and tried to learn as much about them as possible. I loved learning about their favorite hobbies, activities, families, and how they best communicate. Learning each student’s communication style was a huge learning curve that I thought I would not been able to master during this summer. However, I was wrong. By the end of my first week with each of my classes I felt extremely comfortable interacting and having conversations with every single one of the students and was able to build a relationship with each one that I will value for a lifetime. Also, I am super grateful that teachers at HMS opened up their classrooms to me this summer and taught me so many things that have allowed me to learn about myself as a person, the cerebral palsy community, and so much more.
What is the most rewarding lesson you learned that you will take with you?
The most rewarding lesson that I have learned from my summer at HMS School was that learning is a lifelong process. Growing up with a brother who is on the autism spectrum, I thought that I would have had a lot of knowledge about cerebral palsy. I was so glad to say that I was wrong. If I would have never been placed at HMS, I would have never gotten the opportunity to broaden my horizons in working with groups with different disabilities until I was treating them. Now I can say that I will feel more confident treating patients with cerebral palsy in the future. I also know that if I am ever in a situation where I am treating patients or meeting individuals with a disability that I have never worked closely with, I must remember I am learning about their community. Every day I will continue to learn because each patient is completely different from the last.
How do you envision yourself utilizing your new-found knowledge in your professional career endeavors or future studies?
As a future dentist, I will use the skills that I gained at HMS School every day not only in my professional endeavors, but in my personal life as well. Over the six weeks I learned so much about communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal. I am more confident than ever in my non-verbal communication skills because of the relationships I had built with my students. Also, I am more aware of how different each patient that I will treat in the future will be. My students showed me that everyone has such unique medical and social situations and that every patient I will see in the future will need an exceptional level of personalized care. Our team also creates a social story about going to the dentist and I learned a lot about how to create a visually accessible social story. I will for sure be making one for my future practice.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in joining this internship program with HMS and Bridging the Gaps at UPenn?
My biggest piece of advice that I would give an incoming Bridging the Gap Intern would be to enjoy every second of the experience. You will blink and then you will then realize that your time at HMS school is sadly over. You will form such amazing friendships and relationships that your time will fly by. Also, if you have any questions about this population or anything that you might be curious about ask anyone around you. This is such a great learning opportunity, take advantage of it!
Interested in working with HMS? Visit our Career Opportunities page to see what positions may be right for you!