A Student Perspective: Katie and Jon

August 31, 2015

For only the third time in our history, the Clinic hosted a two-person pharmacy extern team for the month of August.  Fittingly, Katie and Jon were two personalities that seemed worlds apart individually, but an amazing team when put together.  They truly complimented each other clinically and Health Partners received all the benefits!  We thank these two and wish them well as they journey on towards their degrees, but, before they leave, they wish to share their thoughts in this month’s installment of A Student Perspective:




“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.” Matthew 25:35-36 HCSB

I feel like these verses from the Bible accurately describe the motivation behind everything that is done at Health Partners Free Clinic.  In a traditional doctor’s office, the purpose of a visit is to treat the patient and get him out of the office in the most efficient way possible. You have a very narrow viewpoint of what is really going on with the patient, mostly because of time constraints.  At HPFC, they really emphasize taking care of the patient as a whole.  The nurses and medical assistants take time to listen and get the full background of the patient so they can have a better understanding of why the patient is there. The doctors and nurse practitioners work with the pharmacists to develop a treatment plan that is best for the patient, taking into consideration the patient’s ability to take certain medicines and afford them. The social worker talks with the patient and connects him to community resources, such as the food bank and other charities.  Other staff members work with the patient to figure out issues with insurance and transportation. They really focus on the patient as a person, not just a statistic.

Before coming to HPFC, my understanding of healthcare was based on diseases and treatment plans. These are important aspects of healthcare, but they are not the full picture.  A person’s health depends not only what is happening physically, but also mentally, spiritually, and economically. You may have a great medicine to treat a patient, but it will have no effect if she cannot afford it. You can recommend dietary changes to help lower someone’s blood sugar or cholesterol, but it does not matter if what he eats depends on what the soup kitchen or food bank is serving. You can suggest that a patient goes to the pharmacy to check her blood pressure daily so she does not have to purchase a blood pressure cuff, but it is not helpful if she has no transportation.

My time at HPFC has really opened my eyes not only to the poverty and despair that exists in this state, but also to the compassionate people who offer their time and friendship to complete strangers because they want to make this world a better place. This rotation has impacted me greatly, and I am thankful that I have been able to spend this last month at such a wonderful place.



I have had the privilege of serving at Health Partners Free Clinic for the entire month of August and my experience has been phenomenal. From the very first day I set foot in the clinic, I felt very welcomed. The entire staff is friendly, easy-going and has an undying passion to help people in need. From the nurses to the IT department, to the practitioners, everyone works hard to give the patient a positive healthcare experience.

I witnessed the best example that personifies the effect this clinic has on the surrounding community during the second week of the rotation. A patient came in with multiple medical problems that were being compounded by complex social issues. She was very somber, downcast, and tearful during the initial interview with the nurse. However, after the practitioners addressed her medical problems, and she voiced her social issues to the social worker, she was a completely different person as if a heavy burden had been removed. In the same way, this community is burdened with many needs that must be addressed and Health Partners takes joy in relieving this weight to make the community both stronger and healthier.

Another thing I appreciate about Health Partners is how well they utilize student help. The atmosphere at the clinic is very conducive to learning, which I found to be helpful. The practitioners actually take the time to ask for my input when treating a patient, which makes me feel involved and valuable.

Finally, the best thing about Health Partners is that they actually care about their patients. The staff consistently shows how much they care by going out of their way to help people that walk through the door. They often chat about giving different patients rides back to the patients’ homes as if it were commonplace…because it actually does happen all the time. These wonderful, selfless individuals go the extra 2 miles on a daily basis because they care, which has made quite an impression on myself during my time there.