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Internship with BJC Healthcare offers training in leadership, nonclinical skills

Oct. 19, 2023

A young man poses in front of Jesse Hall at the University of Missouri.
Andy Hinkamp, a Health Science major with an emphasis in leadership and policy, is learning a lot about supply chain operations and other nonclinical skills while completing a yearlong internship with BJC Healthcare. Photo courtesy of Andy Hinkamp.

Story by Gracie Hedenberg

When Andy Hinkamp embarked upon a yearlong internship at BJC Healthcare in an unfamiliar field, he was determined to make connections and learn what he could.

As a Health Science major with an emphasis in leadership and policy, Hinkamp hopes to eventually work in hospital administration and leadership roles. The St. Louis native wanted an administrative internship that would allow him to cultivate experiences and relationships in the industry, so he reached out to a connection with BJC Healthcare.

After working his way through a chain of roughly eight or nine helpful folks with the St. Louis-based health care system, Hinkamp met Tom Harvieux, BJC’s chief supply chain officer. Although Hinkamp had no experience in supply chain and Harvieux had no administrative jobs, they took a chance on each other because of a shared sense of potential.

“I don’t have a supply chain background; I don’t have a certificate from Mizzou, I don’t have any sort of coursework or prior work experience in the supply chain,” Hinkamp said. “When I told Tom that up front, he still said, ‘This is something that you’d get some value out of, and I think you’re the type of guy that we would also get value from.’ ”

A mutually beneficial relationship

Hinkamp worked with Harvieux to find opportunities that could be fulfilling for his education and helpful to his team.

He ended up joining a communications task force to ensure messages from the top were disseminated to all levels of the supply chain at BJC. These communications and administrative-related tasks used skills Hinkamp has used on campus as vice president of the Interfraternity Council — as well as a student ambassador for the College of Health Sciences since January 2023. Through these experiences, he’s been able to practice leadership skills and talk with people he might never meet otherwise.

“Being in leadership roles on campus has really taught me about how to lead and be collaborative,” Hinkamp said. “I also learned that I enjoy being able to take on responsibility, motivate others and build connections.”

Over the summer, Hinkamp worked full-time between the office and shadowing supply operations at the 14 different hospitals within the BJC system. Now that school is back in session, he’s shifted to a part-time hybrid position managing contracts digitally while he completes his degree.

While he’s appreciated a crash course in supply chain operations, Hinkamp still has his sights set on hospital administration — ideally still with BJC Healthcare.

A nonclinical career path

Hospital administration was not always Hinkamp’s goal; he entered Mizzou with hopes of serving patients as a physical therapist. Before too long, he realized his interest in the business side of health care made him a better fit for a leadership and policy emphasis.

“I knew early on health care is what I want to do,” Hinkamp said. “It just took me a little bit more time to figure out what I want to do within health care.”

During the in-person portion of his internship with BJC, he was able to get an inside look at various hospitals by following supplies from the shipment bay all the way up to the supply rooms. This gave him a better understanding of the inner workings of health care environments, knowledge Hinkamp said will be useful in future nonclinical roles.

“I don’t want to be in a clinical role,” he said. “I don’t necessarily do well with blood or other bodily fluids. But being able to take care of patients in a different way is definitely something that I want to do, so I enjoyed being able to see how that would work in a hospital.”

Hinkamp’s internship with BJC runs through May, so he still has plenty of time to continue building relationships, learning operational procedures and gaining real-world experience.