December 9 2022

Children’s Minnesota experience helped Step Up intern Sabrin define her career and find a college mentor

Step Up intern Sabrin with Achieve college intern Hani in hospital hallway

Newborns in the specialty care nursery at Children’s Minnesota are resting more comfortably, thanks to the work of Step Up intern Sabrin Yusuf and her new colleague and mentor, Achieve College Internships participant Hani Ali.

Hani and Sabrin became fast friends when they met at Children’s Minnesota last summer. Sabrin is a high school student, and Hani is studying nursing at Concordia University in Saint Paul. They worked as a team at the hospital, and Hani became a personal resource for Sabrin as she explored the nursing career she now wants to pursue.  

Challenged by the ineffectiveness of generic shampoo and conditioner for African American babies, the nursery team needed a solution. Patient care manager Samantha Becker charged Sabrin and Hani with the task of finding better options by researching hair and skin care products that would be safer and more effective for their small patients.  

The duo’s research led them to discover the reason that current hair and skin products weren’t working well. “We learned that due to their coil-shaped hair, black babies needed more moisture than these products provided, and that it doesn’t need to be washed as often,” Sabrin explained. “When we researched the best shampoo and conditioner for them, we also found good skin care solutions. We selected the best products and ordered them for the hospital. Then we educated the nurses on why these products will be effective.” According to Sabrin, the nurses were pleased by their work. “They were super thankful because this was something they really needed.”

Sabrin says she’s very happy that Samantha introduced her to Hani. “I’ve learned so much from her about nursing school and the college experience, and I’m confident I want to be a nurse”. Sabrin also discovered that she loves children. “I’ve been interested in health care since I was little, and this internship made me realize that I would like to work in pediatrics.”

Loving kindness comes naturally for Sabrin, and she says it’s something she brings to the workplace. “My parents taught me to be kind, and I’ve always wanted to help people.” Sabrin is also quick to point out this attribute in her supervisor. “Samantha and I checked in every week, and she asked me how things were going and if she could help me in any way. I really appreciated it.”

Other highlights of Sabrin’s Step Up internship included organizational tasks, interacting with parents and babies and performing some nursing assistant duties. Those duties led her to the decision to take Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training next summer. “I would like to take the CNA training, secure another Step Up internship and return to Children’s Minnesota,” she says.

Sabrin recognizes the value of the connections she made with physicians, nurses, and other people within the specialty care nursery unit. As the daughter of Somali immigrants, she says she appreciates the value of these opportunities and is dedicated to working hard for what she wants. The high school junior adds, “I’ve been preparing for my future career for quite some time!”

This fall Sabrin is taking post-secondary education classes (PSEO) at Eagle Ridge Academy in Minnetonka. She says she would not have defined her career path without Step Up and her new friend, Hani. “It was hard to say goodbye to Hani, but we text often, and remain friends. After this great experience, I highly recommend Step Up internships!”