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Dreaded internship becomes right job for Ruth

“Back home, I felt I had to become something more, to be extraordinary,” said Ruth. “That's why I chose to come to the U.S. But at first, I was so afraid and lonely, and for a while I thought coming here was a big mistake.”

As Ruth enrolled at LDS Business College, she came face-to-face with her biggest challenge: courage. “I compared myself with all the students around me,” she said, “and I felt I was going to get left behind. But I chose to believe in my potential, and I did great! I discovered I am truly smart and have amazing skills I can use to bless others.”

While Ruth had never pictured herself as a medical assistant, she found herself on that path and quickly embraced it. But then came the next challenge, one that would test her resolve. During her second year of school, Ruth was assigned a 180-hour internship at the Fourth Street Clinic, a small medical facility assisting the homeless population in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

“She didn’t want to go to the clinic,” said Toodie West, health professions program director at LDS Business College. “But I felt there was something she needed to learn from that experience.”

Many of the students in Ruth’s class were getting internships at the university, and Ruth was a little jealous. But her feelings soon changed. “The internship was all that I needed and more,” said Ruth. “I was able to perform procedures, use medical software, sign and submit forms, chart, and make phone calls. My confidence soared as I learned to trust my knowledge, skills and experience. I also loved translating for many of the patients.”

Ruth met a woman from South America who came to the clinic in tears. “She did not speak English,” said Ruth, “so I talked to her in Spanish. I found out she was recovering from surgery and her wounds were not healing well. She was desperate and in great pain. I tried to comfort her and assure her the doctor would see her soon. She finally stopped crying and thanked me for being there for her.”

Ruth had never guessed she would love working with homeless people. “It’s hard at times,” she said, “but these people need us. Many have literally nothing but their bodies, and when they get sick, they get so frustrated because they are afraid they could lose everything.  When we can make them healthier, this gives them a little hope to keep going.”

As her internship drew to an end, Ruth found she did not want to leave. She worked hard each day hoping to get hired. Patients noticed how happy she was and commented, “You really like your job, don’t you?” She always smiled and said yes.

“You can imagine my joy when I was offered a job there!” said Ruth. She works full-time and is thrilled to help those who suffer but have no access to health care.

“Thanks to my studies at LDSBC, I am dedicated and independent,” said Ruth. “The teachers and friends I made were great, and I learned that I can set goals and reach them if I work hard. I was able to master my lab skills, and I learned how to listen to the Spirit. I am excited to ‘be something more,’ to use what I have learned to help others.”

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