Bezawit Kebede ’25 Spends the Summer Building Skills

In the weeks leading up to her summer internship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Colby-Sawyer College nursing student Bezawit Kebede ’25 was filled with anxiety. But, she said, to her surprise, the moment she first stepped on the unit on her very first day, those feelings dissolved and were replaced with excitement and eagerness.

“The warm welcome I received from the first day slowly erased my fear as calmness filled me, knowing I was supported on my unit to learn new skills and be provided with opportunities to better myself both academically and personally,” Bezawit said.

This summer, Bezawit is an LNA (licensed nursing assistant) intern. That means that she is working full-time with real patients and getting paid to do it. She is also picking up important clinical experience that she will carry with her as she completes her nursing degree at Colby-Sawyer. During her clinicals in the spring semester, she had a glimpse of working with patients, but this summer experience has bolstered the knowledge she has gained with more advanced training and unit-specific procedures for caring for patients. Still, among the many new things she has learned, it is the interactions with patients that have made the greatest impression.

“Each new day brings a new learning opportunity,” she said, “as my old patients teach me the joy of their discharge and the sadness of unsaid goodbyes, whereas my new patients share a piece of their lives as we embark on a journey together.”

Bezawit’s journey to college has already spanned a great distance; she hails from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. At Colby-Sawyer, she has distinguished herself with her scholarship and her active involvement in the community. She was chosen as a recipient of a highly selective BOLD scholarship, meaning she has been provided with additional career development support from the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network. Colby-Sawyer is one of a small group of colleges tapped to receive funding through the BOLD network, which is supported by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation.

As for what that career will ultimately look like, Bezawit is still exploring her options. She says she’s not sure exactly what specialty she wants to focus on. However, she hopes that this internship will help her make that decision.

“I am utilizing the opportunities I have to shadow in certain areas, such as the intensive care unit (ICU) and the operating room, hoping to gain some experience with what being a nurse in these areas look like,” she explained. “Hopefully, as I gain more experience, the choice of which path in nursing I will take becomes clearer.”

Working as an LNA is not always easy, but Bezawit does not expect it to be.

“A month and a week into this internship, I have had good days and bad days where I am surrounded by different people that support me and guide me to learn as I gain more experience and knowledge,” she said. Soon, she will begin working independently, without the direct supervision of her preceptor, a prospect that makes her nervous, but also excited.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how much I have improved both in bedside patient care and generally as a professional health care worker,” she said. In the meantime, she intends to continue developing her network, and taking full advantage of every opportunity to develop her leadership skills.