My Internship Experience at the QNI
8 September 2023 | Bethan Cornick
When scrolling the university careers service, I knew I wanted to complete a summer internship in the charity sector.
I had been volunteering since the age of 15: working in my local charity shop, making stuffed toys for the children’s hospital, helping run my university’s breast cancer awareness week, and mentoring students from low-income backgrounds.
Armed with the aim to gain work experience in a charity, I stumbled upon a job advert for a Policy and Communications Internship at the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI). When applying for the job I was a second-year experimental psychology student at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. Although I really enjoy psychology, I was unsure whether there was a career in the field for me. As well as wanting to work for a charity, policy and communications were two areas I had previous work experience in, so I sent my application off to the QNI.
After a successful application, I started work in mid-July. A mix of nerves and excitement, I arrived at the QNI office and was greeted by many friendly faces. I quickly knew that I would really enjoy my time at the QNI as all the staff were so welcoming.
On my first day, learning about the history of the QNI was fascinating. I was told that the QNI had first taken interns from the University of Oxford eight years ago after former trustee William Rathbone X OBE, an alumnus of Oxford, had suggested to the CEO that the QNI could do so. I felt really privileged to be the first intern the QNI had employed since the pandemic.
I would never have even considered community nursing in the homeless population, and it was fascinating to hear about the work being done in this area. I attended two meetings, one about health visitors working with asylum seekers, and another about a street outreach team in Cambridge. All the meeting attendees were super engaged with the speakers and sparked great discussion with one another.Bethan Cornick
My first week was jam packed. I was fortunate enough to meet nearly every member of staff, all of whom were so lovely. Many colleagues invited me to their meetings, talks, and online events. It was particularly interesting to hear from Queen’s Nurses who were now working at the QNI about their careers. One thing that shocked me was how vast community nursing was. I always imagined community nursing was only for patients unable to get to hospital – how wrong I was!
Whilst working at the QNI I have been involved in many exciting projects. I have read and summarised many lengthy policy documents, including the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, a report on the future of general practice, and the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training for Learning Disabilities and Autism. Editing has become a skill for me, as I was tasked with editing many of the blogs and case studies written for the QNI website. I have also contacted NHS Trusts and associated health organisations, asking them to promote QNI initiatives and events.
I have discovered a new passion for writing during my internship. When I was asked to write my first article for Nursing in Practice on the QNI Elsie Wagg Innovation Projects I felt apprehensive. I am used to writing two essays a week at university but had never written anything like a news article. To my surprise, I really enjoyed writing the article, and I have gone on to write an advert about the QNI Conference for the Journal of Community Nursing and Journal of General Practice Nursing, and another article for Nursing in Practice about the QNI Field Specific Standards. One of my goals for the next academic year is to get into student journalism after enjoying writing these articles so much.
A highlight of my time at the QNI was attending the Homeless and Inclusion Health network meetings. I would never have even considered community nursing in the homeless population, and it was fascinating to hear about the work being done in this area. I attended two meetings, one about health visitors working with asylum seekers, and another about a street outreach team in Cambridge. All the meeting attendees were super engaged with the speakers and sparked great discussion with one another. It was amazing to see so many passionate nurses communicating with one another.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship and would like to thank everyone at the QNI for making me feel so welcome, especially the communications team who have been really supportive of all the work I have done. Nearly anyone in my life who would listen has heard me talk about the huge scope of community nursing. I really admire the work that the QNI do and will continue to tell people about how amazing community nurses are! An amazing, and special experience, I would recommend an internship at the QNI to anyone.
Bethan Cornick, former Policy and Communications Intern (July – September 2023)