A Student Perspective: Amanda and Carly
July 2, 2015
During the month of June, the Clinic was double blessed with double the pharmacy trouble! For the first time in our history, we had two pharmacy externs on-site for an entire month. Amanda, from Cedarville University, and Carly, from Ohio Northern University, served as our new-model guinea pigs and our patients were blessed for it! These diligent two provided medication and education to every patient that walked through our doors. The Clinic was thrilled to have them and we look forward to many more experiences with this model. Amanda and Carly were kind enough to share their perspective of the month spent at the Clinic below:
My time at Health Partners Free Clinic (HPFC) was a very rewarding experience. This was my first rotation and I think was the perfect way to start out my last year of pharmacy school. The environment of the clinic is very team focused which really allows us to care for our patients to the best of our ability. Everyone has a role to play in getting our patients quality healthcare that they can afford. It’s been such a pleasure to work as a part of this team. I cannot say enough good things about the caring people I’ve gotten to know and work with over the past month.
The patients are also a huge part of the experience at the clinic. People from all walks of life come through our doors. Maybe they’ve fallen on hard times or make too much to qualify for federal help but not enough to cover their medical costs. Either way, we’re here to provide a listening ear and quality care. Health is multifaceted and each patient is far more complex than they may seem on paper. Taking the time to listen to all our patient’s needs is a vital part of improving their health.
This experience has taught me that everyone has a story to tell and, as a health care team, we each are here to pick up on specific pieces of that story. When we work together we can get the fullest picture and help our patients the best. I am so thankful for this experience and for all that the clinic is doing for the residents of Miami County. I hope to return to volunteer once I’m done with school and continue to be a part of the mission of HPFC.
If you would have told me one year ago that I would be completing one of my pharmacy rotations in Dayton, I would have never believed you. However, as I have come to realize so many times in my life, God’s plan is much different from my own. I was presented with an opportunity to branch out from what I was used to and spend a month at Health Partners Free Clinic. I knew that despite my uncertainty and fear of the unknown, this was a place that God wanted me to go. During my time at the clinic, I met genuinely appreciative patients who had experienced more hardship in their lives than anyone deserves. My incredibly blessed life was put into perspective, and I understood just how much I have to be thankful for, and how much I have to give.
My experience at Health Partners was challenging, yet rewarding due in large part to a warm hearted and selfless staff. From physicians to nurses to volunteers, each person I encountered taught me valuable lessons beyond what can be learned in a classroom. Having recently spent five years in school, I was prepared to regurgitate my clinical knowledge at the drop of a hat. I quickly realized that while it is important to give our patients the best, evidence based care, it is also imperative to connect with them on a human level. My preceptor, Justin, emphasized that after spending time with a patient we should be able to “tell their story.” I discovered that a patient’s story goes far beyond their medical conditions and their clinic visits. Getting to know our patients personally only makes it easier to give them what they need to get better.
On my very first day at the clinic, I met a patient who changed my outlook for the rest of the month. This patient had recently suffered a loss, had the responsibility to care for family, and had no means of transportation to get to and from appointments. Just one of these burdens would have been a lot to handle for anyone, but this patient had all three hit at once. What really inspired me was the patient’s attitude during this time. Despite having every right to be upset, sad, and self-deprecating, the patient retained a positive outlook on the future. I spent a long time talking with this patient, listening and learning as much as I could. Many of our patients, like this one, come to us after years with no medical care. They are used to being turned away because they are uninsured or underinsured, but at Health Partners we welcome them with open arms and do our absolute best to provide comprehensive care. We believe that all patients have a right to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. Nobody should have to choose between paying for food or paying for important medications.
The Health Partners staff makes sacrifices to meet our patients where they are, finding creative solutions to difficult problems. If there is no visible way to help a patient, we will keep looking until we find one. It was truly a joy to come and spend time at the Clinic each day. I knew that all of our hard work was for people who sincerely needed and deserved healthcare. The wonderful thing about Health Partners is that it extends beyond clinical care. We have social workers and financial navigators on staff to help patients apply for insurance and find housing and jobs. We are a part of a tight-knit community that supports each other at all times.
This rotation helped me discover what kind of pharmacist I want to be. I will choose to focus on the patient, rather than their problem. I will support my patients beyond the act of providing medication. I will listen, empathize, and go the extra mile to help them with whatever they need. Everyone, without exception, deserves quality healthcare. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had at Health Partners Free Clinic to provide it to our patients.