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My First Internship Experience

Posted By Joyce Kasab, Friday, August 19, 2016
Updated: Friday, August 19, 2016

After spending four years in snowy Rochester, New York, a summer in North Carolina is quite the change of pace. As a student of the Biomedical Photographic Communications major at RIT, a co-op or internship requirement was my last requirement to fulfill before officially graduating and entering the workforce. Sarah Moyer, an RIT alum, graciously agreed to take me on as an intern this summer at the prestigious Kittner Eye Center at UNC Chapel Hill. Because UNC is such a teaching and research-based institution, I knew that the opportunities to observe and learn would be great. Thanks to the innovative clinical studies and patients traveling from all over the state, I was finally able to apply my academic studies and image a wide variety of pathology, ranging from macular degeneration to Stargardt’s Disease, on all types of instruments. It has been thrilling to implement my knowledge in a real-world clinical environment, where my actions directly impact and help patients every day.


 Patient care is vital to ophthalmology, a field with a high amount of geriatric patients. After imaging over 200 patients in just 5 weeks, I’ve realized that the top three essentials to providing a positive experience are patience, clarity, and comfort. An ophthalmic imager must be calm and patient, which puts the patient at ease. This allows the patient to ask you questions so they are not in the dark about their own medical care. Clarity is a skill I’ve honed over time- when I first began speaking to patients, I would quickly speak in detail about the test. As I’ve continued working, I’ve learned what the patients want to know most, and whittled down my pre-imaging "spiel” to the essentials, speaking slowly and clearly. This ensures they aren’t overwhelmed by the information I’ve just given them. My final realization is that a comfortable patient is a happy one. If the patient is struggling physically or emotionally, it will affect their cooperation with the imaging.

In college, I learned about and practiced with mydriatic fundus cameras and one spectral domain OCT machine. When I got to the Kittner Eye Center, I was trained on two OCT machines, in addition to a non-mydriatic, a mydriatic, and a widefield fundus camera that I now use on a daily basis. I was also exposed to anterior segment OCT, corneal topography, specular microscopy, full-field and multi-focal ERG, slit-lamp imaging, external photography, visual fields and even animal imaging. My biggest struggle on the mydriatic fundus camera was adjusting my working distance to avoid artifacts in my images. As for the widefield camera, learning to hold patients’ eyelids and achieve the largest field of view was something I had never done before, and proved to be challenging. There are so many instruments being utilized every day by the rest of the imaging staff, and through careful training, I have been able to expand my technical skills and knowledge. While learning these new processes can sometimes be frustrating, I have learned to take mistakes in stride and continue to ask questions. No one starts off perfectly, and remembering that has been both humbling and encouraging.


As I wrap up a very hot but wonderful summer here at UNC, I’d like to thank Sarah Moyer, Houston Sharpe III, Rona Esquejo-Leon, Debra Cantrell, and the rest of the Kittner Eye Center staff, faculty, residents, fellows, and patients for being so welcoming and supportive. I am sincerely appreciative and grateful for everyone who has helped me get here, and cannot wait to take the next step into the world of ophthalmic imaging.






About the Author: Joyce Kasab is a recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology Class of 2016, majoring in Biomedical Photographic Communications. Originally from Long Island, New York, she is interning at the UNC Kittner Eye Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina until August 2016.

Tags:  blog  education  Internship  Kittner  Meaningful Use  New Life 

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Comments on this post...

Noelle Pensec CRA says...
Posted Friday, August 19, 2016
Congrats, Joyce!
Permalink to this Comment }

James Soque CRA OCT-C COA FOPS says...
Posted Friday, August 19, 2016
Your images are outstanding Joyce! Learning to know your patients can be a very rewarding experience. Congratulations on the completion of your internship at UNC Chapel Hill!
Kind Regards,
Jim Soque
Permalink to this Comment }

Timothy J. Bennett CRA OCT-C says...
Posted Friday, August 19, 2016
Nice images!
Permalink to this Comment }

Alan Frohlichstein says...
Posted Friday, August 19, 2016
Welcome to the field.
Permalink to this Comment }

Elizabeth L. Affel MT MS OCT-C CDOS ROUB COA FOPS says...
Posted Friday, August 19, 2016
Welcome to Ophthalmic Imaging and the OPS!
Permalink to this Comment }

Stuart B. Alfred, CRA, OCT-C says...
Posted Monday, August 29, 2016
Fantastic images and a truly well done blog. I see a stellar career ahead for you!
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Permalink to this Comment }

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