A Student Perspective: Allie
December 30, 2015
The month of December is filled with a lot of ups and downs for a charitable organization, and Health Partners is no exception. Our staff always seems to cry a little more about the hardship stories and celebrate a bit louder over miracles for our patients’ lives as the holidays approach. This past months’ pharmacy extern, Allie, surely gave cause for our Staff to celebrate. She truly stretched herself to understand the challenges that our neighbors in need face every year at this time. Allie shares her perspective on a December spent at the Clinic below:
Beginning my journey with Health Partners Clinic in December, I thought I had a general understanding on what to expect. Growing up, I saw first hand my neighbors and classmates struggle financially and have to juggle what they needed versus what they were able to afford. Coming into this experience, I saw this as a great resource for patients who were uninsured or under-served at the time to have check-ups free of cost. After these last four weeks, however, I have left with a much more well-rounded understanding of what exactly a free clinic can offer: doctor’s appointments, prescription medications, referrals to specialists, and even guidance on choosing an insurance.
Building relationships with patients to not just treat their current condition but truly understand their story became a theme for the month. For instance, a patient came in proud of his new job and own apartment after struggling to find a home, but he was having trouble passing his vision test for his license. Through working with health providers in the area, he was able to leave his appointment with us with a recommendation for a free eye exam and pair of glasses from a local optometrist.
After past rotations at larger hospitals, it was an adjustment to see the patient beyond their chart- but a change of pace I am blessed for. I saw how much of an impact I, as even a student pharmacist, can make on a patient. From making what seems like little suggestions, such as walking around the mall when it’s cold outside to get exercise during the week, to seeing the results three weeks later when that patient had lost 5lbs and was thanking us for the ideas. Taking the time to really get to know each patient to understand their circumstances, to set attainable goals, and keep them motivated through their health journey is the pharmacist and health care provider I want to be.
I want to thank the entire staff and team of volunteers who make Health Partners Free Clinic an ideal experience for each and every patient. As a student, I saw this warm and inviting environment as soon as I walked through the door and each volunteer did not hesitate in helping me whenever I needed it. I look forward to giving back as a pharmacist to continue to serve those who may need it the most. I hope to take all my experiences from this month and use them to shape how I continue my rotations and soon practice as a pharmacist: going that extra mile for each patient individually, understanding their story, and being willing to be flexible and creative in making recommendations to therapy. This past month was something to not forget!