Student Perspective: Jana and Josh
September 28, 2017
e·piph·a·ny: an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking.
When we house students here at the Clinic we pray that in the service to those in need they will have an epiphany. This intuitive grasp could be in their professional development or personal character development. This past month, we were able to watch both occur with our pharmacy externs Jana and Josh. They will forever have a new Perspective, and they were kind enough to share that with us:
I can hardly believe that the month of September is already coming to a close, and I have to say that I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the past month furthering my pharmacy education at Health Partners Free Clinic. The clinic provided me a unique insight to the impact that healthcare providers can have within their communities. In addition to the clinic’s friendly staff members, there are so many people who volunteer their time at the clinic in order to promote the health of their neighbors who reside in Miami County. It was a privilege to work with and learn from people who care so deeply about their community. This past month helped me develop as a student and future healthcare practitioner, but perhaps even more significantly, it highlighted to me the importance of providing patients with care that is compassionate, individualized, and non-judgmental.
At Health Partners, I have been particularly struck by how efficient healthcare can be when providers work as a collaborative team. It has been such a great experience working directly in the clinic with the prescribers. Unlike in a typical community or retail pharmacy, the pharmacy team at Health Partners is already on site with the prescriber, so there is no need to spend time calling the prescriber to ask a question or make a recommendation. They are able to simply have a face-to-face conversation in which they can come up with a mutually acceptable plan together. Thus, something that might have taken hours or even days of back-and-forth phone calls in a traditional retail pharmacy can be solved in a matter of minutes at Health Partners Free Clinic. Moreover, working as a team allows for a mutual exchange of ideas between the healthcare professionals in order to develop the most appropriate care plan for each individual patient.
The clinic not only provides medical care, but also strives to meet patients’ social needs. Health Partners impressed upon me the importance of considering each person’s individual situation and approaching healthcare from a holistic standpoint. Even as a student, I felt like I was an integral part of the clinic’s healthcare team. I collaborated with prescribers at the clinic to recommend medications, and I also was able to sit down to talk with patients to address any questions they had about their medications. I was challenged to apply the classroom knowledge that I learned throughout the previous five years in order to formulate individual care plans.
Furthermore, my time with Health Partners has shown me the importance of being an active member of my community and having compassion for those around me. Each person I have encountered at Health Partners has a unique story to tell. I truly believe that promoting the health and wellness of each individual, regardless of income or social status, is essential to create a thriving community. I do not yet know where I will end up practicing as a pharmacist, but I do know that wherever I end up, I would like to be involved with an organization such as Health Partners Free Clinic, which contributes to its local community by providing excellent care to those in need.
1 John 3:17: But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Whether you believe in the Christian God, the flying spaghetti monster, or no deity at all, this verse of scripture rings true. While we are certainly a fallen species, humanity’s innate morality still pushes us towards helping others. Take for example the tremendous outpouring of support following Harvey and Irma this month. Those of us with resources, be it through financial donations, knowledge, or abilities, should always look to contribute to the betterment of others.
That is what I love about Health Partners. The entire process is patient focused from the first step through the door. The staff has no need to worry about profit from moving patients through as fast as possible, which allows patients to feel cared for, rather than taken care of. There isn’t more money to be made by double booking appointments, and no provider will leave the patient with questions that could be answered.
Justin (the director) has mentioned that he believes the future of healthcare lies in this model. I was skeptical. How can this type of model be sustained in a world driven by profit?
This month at Health Partners has completely erased any doubt in mind that this model is what we should set our sights on. The efficiency of housing the entire outpatient care system under one roof changes the way we think about health care as providers, not to mention as patients. Being able to consult between physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses, and social workers at the drop of a hat creates a system that provides for (almost) all of a patient’s needs without playing phone tag for weeks between offices, sending the patient on pharmacy goose hunts, or turning away those in need. The volunteer support for the services at the clinic is astounding, and reminds me daily of what even a few hours of my time can contribute to the community.
As a student I have had great opportunities to use my knowledge in ways that make real impact. I have counseled patients on medication safety, reviewed medication lists, given recommendations for therapy to providers, started applications for patient prescription assistance programs, performed foot exams, and even served as nurse when necessary. This clinic has provided me the opportunity to experience the ambulatory health care system in a way that I didn’t expect, shattering my preconceptions and encouraging me for the future.
The team at Health Partners exemplifies the spirit of love and community that we all long for as patients. I have seen providers genuinely caring for their patients in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, both as a pharmacy student and as a patient myself. As a student I know very little and my exposure to the world of healthcare is still narrow, but of what I’ve seen so far, Health Partners is doing it right.