Updated: Mar 19
Hi there! My name is Alana Krull and I am a 4th year Child Development major at Cal Poly. I am originally from Danville, California but have absolutely loved everything about living on the Central Coast these past few years. I will be applying to nursing schools this summer and I hope to work in Labor and Delivery or in the NICU. I wanted a way to dive deeper into this amazing community and use my education in child development and health care interests so CCCN was the perfect place for my internship!
I was unsure what to expect when I started my journey as an intern this quarter at CCCN. I knew I was passionate about healthcare, mental health, and infant development. When I began reflecting on my time here, I couldn't believe that just eight weeks ago, I had no idea that I would be so passionate about the postpartum period and even prenatally. My fellow intern Morgan Jamati has been an old friend of mine since high school and absolutely raved about her experience at CCCN, so I am more than glad that I took the opportunity to apply to intern here.
I explored my mental health and nursing interests through writing blogs, shadowing, researching, attending member meetings, listening to CCCN podcasts, and joining Instagram lives. Here are some of my highlights and key takeaways from my internship experiences:
Conversations with Registered Nurses
I had the opportunity to speak with three current registered nurses in various occupations and workplaces. It was encouraging and inspiring to see how passionate they are about their careers in labor and delivery. It was helpful to hear their perspectives on the various nursing degrees and pathways. I will have to do more research on the types of programs I want to apply to! This opportunity made me more determined to work on applications and hopeful for my future in nursing. It was a relief to get clarification on changing over to California licensure. It was a gift to hear from them and ask questions.
Fun Run at C.L. Smith Elementary
I loved the fun run. It was the highlight of my week to see the kids smiling and laughing while running. I was impressed by the diversity of C.L. Smith Elementary, especially in San Luis Obispo. It was amazing to see how many people care about the kids at this school and community.
Mentoring, Values & Resume Activity
I had the best time during mentorship activities with Susannah and Zabrina. This time was reflective, and I know it will help me greatly in the future. We talked about my mission, values, resume assistance, SWOT analysis. I can't wait to take all of this knowledge and continue learning and growing with it.
Chamber of Commerce Luncheon- Susannah as Guest Speaker
It was so awesome to attend the South County Chamber of Commerce event. I loved hearing Susannah speak about the importance of nonprofits to our county and their impact on our community. I was so proud of her and to be a part of CCCN! Her presentation was so engaging. I learned a lot about nonprofits' background and SPOKES vital work to support other nonprofits. I will now look up places I want to donate to see their transparency! It was inspiring to hear about all the projects going on and how supportive everyone is.
Pregnancy Hour Meeting
French Hospital is a local hospital that hosts a Pregnancy hour. I was able to shadow a few of the meetings. I did not know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised when the guest speakers were also Licensed Clinical Social Workers in our county who work specifically in maternal mental health. I had been looking for mental health professionals who work specifically with women who encounter perinatal mood disorders, including postpartum depression, anxiety, and the baby blues. They were all welcoming and allowed me to ask questions surrounding their training and certifications to work with this population. It was great to make these connections.
SMV Videos and Lamaze Handout
I watched various pre-recorded videos from the past Santa Maria Valley Birth, Baby, and Family Expo. Recently, I listened to the SMV video from Core Rehabilitation. I am very familiar with physical therapy, but I hadn't considered the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor before, during, and after pregnancy. I think it's amazing that Karen and Samantha specialize in this area and work to help people in our community regain strength and abilities after pregnancy. I enjoyed hearing their examples of what to think about when practicing Kegels.
I also read a Lamaze Booklet about the six healthy birth practices. It was interesting and informative. I started to discuss different birth positions with my friends while reading, so we learned some new things! Additionally, this was a great refresher on episiotomies, other methods of induction etc. that I have learned about in previous classes. The Lamaze childbirth education I learned about allowed me to think more about what birth might look like for me in the future and consider the most healthy choices for myself and my future child🙂
I was excited to listen to more CCCN podcasts throughout my internship and made it a point to listen on my daily walks. The preconception and fertility support topic was almost all new information. I found it fascinating to learn about it from a nutritionist's perspective of improving fertility and treating PCOS. My friend's mom dealt with this while trying to conceive, so I am grateful to learn about this and possible treatment methods. I brought this up with my friend, a nutrition major, and we were able to have a more in-depth conversation about the effects of nutrition on preconception and fertility, which was cool!
I also listened to Family Planning and an interview with Michelle Graham about Loss, Adoption, and Birth. I loved this part of my schedule because I enjoy podcasts and am new to many topics discussed, including reproductive health/preconception. It was interesting to hear about the role of acupuncture for couples trying to conceive. I had no idea there could be so many benefits of this for all aspects of birth. I especially loved the Loss, Adoption, and Birth interview. It brought me to tears. I was shocked to hear the speaker's story of tragedy but inspired by the redemption, beauty, and strength of the eventual outcome of her trauma. I loved Zabrina's questions about the best way for providers to talk, refer to relationships within adoptions, and how nurses care best for anyone giving their child up for adoption. I learned so much and continued to be encouraged by Michelle's story. As someone passionate about advocating for survivors of sexual assault, I was grateful to listen to a story about resilience and courage within this.
The experiences, knowledge, learning, and growth I gained from this internship are priceless. These are only a few reflections from the many activities I participated in. I am so thankful for the mentorship, self-discovery, skills, and investment that came from Zabrina and Susannah this quarter. I recommend checking out CCCN's Instagram, website, and events for further support, resources, and news!
Authored in collaboration with:
Alana Krull, CCCN Intern