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Student Perspective: Insang

June 1, 2018

When he first walked into our doors, Insang, our May pharmacy extern from Cedarville University, not only did he not know what to expect from a month spent at a free clinic, but he also just plain did not know what to expect!  This month was Insang’s first month long rotation as a part of nine total experiential rotations during his last year of pharmacy school.  Insang came with trepidation about patient interaction, let alone with a demographic that have gone under-served which comes with its own set of barriers.  None the less, Insang rolled up his sleeves and got to work.  We at Health Partners are grateful for it!  He shares here, his insights from 30-days at the Clinic in this month’s Student Perspective:

 

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a covenant between equals.”

We all are valuable, so we all deserve to get an equal treatment no matter what the income status and social status are because we are created equal. A person who walks an hour to the clinic, a person with physical or mental disabilities, a person who cannot feed themselves, widowed, depressed, addicted, poor, and broken, they are equal, not a less than. Health Partner Free Clinic is a clinic that knows the value of a person and they treat everyone as valuable no matter who the patient is. And I witnessed that they are bringing changes to the underserved areas in Troy, Ohio. 

Before I started my rotation at Health Partner Free Clinic, I was so excited to “treat” patients. So I tried to memorize treatment algorithms and focused on building my medication knowledge. However, throughout my rotation, I learned that the true treatment comes from understanding the patients’ situation.

One day, I was counseling a patient. Her diabetes was getting worse, but she said she never skipped her medications. I thought she was lying because her lab value shows that she is not getting any better. At the end of the counseling, I asked her “How’s your life going?” without any intention. Then, she started speaking “I am broke and poor, I cannot afford to feed myself. I know I have to eat healthily… but all I can get is rice and bread from the food pantry.” I was shocked because this was not in the textbook or treatment algorithm that I memorized.  I was ashamed because I judged the patient based on their lab values and the disease state. My attitude was treated by the patient. Because of this patient encounter, I started to seek the problem beyond patients’ physical illnesses. A person’s disease state and appearance do not define who she/he truly is.

I was truly blessed to work with the most talented and experienced staff, social workers, volunteers, nurse practitioners and pharmacists at Health Partner Free Clinics who can see the problems beyond physical illnesses. My rotation experience was definitely an eye-opener and will be my future guidelines in practice.