A Student Perspective: Deanna and Rachel
September 29, 2015
From time to time, here at the Clinic, we need reminded of the fact the we operate as a mission. Health Partners is not located in a third world country where clean water may be more scarce than healthcare, but truly we function as a source of hope to our community and patients. We are grateful for the fresh eyes of our students and volunteers that remind us of who we are, and what we do. Deanna and Rachel, our pharmacy externs for the month of September, have done just that in the most recent edition of Student Perspective. They made a true impact on our patients, but also on our staff. The Clinic thanks them for their service this past month and the inspiration they leave us with:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:31-32
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
At Health Partners Free Clinic (HPFC), each day is an exercise in faith and compassion. From day to day, the clinic serves individuals in great need of health care services, yet who are without means to access these services on their own. Faced with the roadblocks of no or limited insurance coverage, lack of primary care access, or other socioeconomic barriers to health care, these individuals often resign themselves to a reality of diminished health and quality of life. In response, Health Partners is actively working to oppose such barriers, transforming that bleak reality of inaccessible health care into one of hope and renewal for many individuals in Miami County. Through dedication, perseverance and an unrelenting compassion for others, the team at HPFC invests countless hours and goes to incredible lengths to provide quality health care for those in desperate need. It is this theme of provision that has permeated my experience at HPFC, as well as left a positive and lasting impression on my faith and approach to pharmacy practice.
The range of disease states and medical needs seen and served at HPFC is impressive in its breadth; nevertheless, even more impressive is the ability of the clinic to meet this diversity of needs with the limited resources and funds available at their disposal. Through innovation and a commitment to quality, HPFC is able to overcome the hurdles of a limited medication formulary, largely volunteer-based staffing and more generalized point-of-care services in order to ensure each patient receives the health care he or she needs. Many times, I witnessed providers at HPFC face difficult situations where medications were in short supply or where they were limited by the diagnostic and therapeutic services available at the clinic; nonetheless, these obstacles did not discourage the team, but rather catalyzed a spirit of ingenuity and determination—a spirit which has become a powerful and ever-present force at HPFC. Even faced with dwindling drug inventories, HPFC did not hesitate to dispense their final supplies of medications to patients. Rather, the team saw the patient’s need, met the need, and trusted that they would have the ability to provide for the inevitable future needs. That is, the team at HPFC displays a faith in God’s provision that is both awe-inspiring and humbling. To HPFC, they recognize that they have been blessed with the services and resources they are able to provide, and in turn they are more than willing to pour out these blessings upon those in need.
From assisting nurses through medication reconciliation, answering patients’ questions regarding drug interactions and medical queries, and helping fill medications which patients may otherwise go without if not for the clinic, my time at HPFC has been both eye-opening and inspiring. Not only has my experience broadened the way in which I deliver care with compassion, but also enhanced my innovative and analytical abilities to make treatment recommendations and medication selections under the confines of a limited formulary and cost- or access-prohibitive treatment restrictions.
Before HPFC, I had never worked in a health care setting which provided services free of charge, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have contributed even a small amount to the work of this amazing organization. Each day at HPFC, patients facing medical and social barriers come to receive treatment for a medical problem, yet they leave with so much more. That is, they leave with a renewed sense of worth and the knowledge that they are cared for and respected. At HPFC, it’s not about the profits or the praise, it’s about the people. At HPFC, the team does not merely dispense medications, but also compassion, reassurance and hope for a better, healthier future. Truly, at HPFC, the team knows that it is far more blessed to give than to receive, and they give selflessly of time and resources on a daily basis. I am proud to have been a part of the HPFC team, and I look forward to seeing the great and inspiring ways they will continue to impact Miami County and its residents.
“In everything I [Paul] did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35
I had the privilege to spend a month at Health Partners Free Clinic for one of my pharmacy rotations. The mission statement of Health Partners is “to increase the availability of health care for the uninsured and underinsured in Miami County, Ohio by providing a clinic for all ages, staffed by health care professionals.” The staff members not only embody their mission statement, but goes above and beyond in many aspects for the people they serve.
The clinic at Health Partners is a fully functioning clinic that encompasses all aspects of health and wellness. Health care is multi-faceted. Often a patient’s main health complaint cannot be fixed merely by taking a pill. While Health Partners does a great job managing chronic medical conditions and treating acute illness, they also offer other services. Navigators are available to help patients find suitable health care plans. Social workers help patients connect to resources available in the community. Nurse practitioners and physicians refer patients to other health care services outside the facility when necessary. By observing the clinic daily, I learned how important it is to take social factors in addition to clinical factors into consideration when treating patients.
The staff at Health Partners are a true team. Each person plays a different role in serving all patients. It was clear that all members of the staff and volunteers value each other for what they bring to the table. I felt very welcome and a part of the team during my rotation. Many times throughout the month Justin, the director, would say, “Using teamwork to make the dream work.” This is truly how this clinic functions.
I was told that one of the most important things I would learn during my time at Health Partners would be how to show compassion. I was grateful for the opportunity to pour the love that God has given me onto others. As stated in 1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” I knew I was making a difference whether I was counseling on how to take new medications or just listening to a patient’s hardships. It was a great experience as patients were so thankful for our service.