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Free Clinic Student Perspective: Dominique and Jake

November 30, 2020

Our monthly student perspective written by pharmacy students from Cedarville University and Ohio Northern University are always a delight to read.  These students can stay relatively conservative throughout the rotation, but never leave a doubt in our minds about how they feel when they turn in their 500-word perspective.  Dom and Jake are no exception in the November 2020 edition of their Student Perspective

Dominique

When coming to the Health Partners free clinic, on my first day, I only knew that I would be seeing patients that might not be able to afford traditional healthcare. I was nervous because I did not exactly know my complete role would be in the clinic being a pharmacy student. I did have a few goals I wanted to accomplish while being here including MTM (medication therapy management) to complete my certification, perform point of care testing, and further learn about ambulatory care.

Once I learned the flow of everything, I wanted to jump right into communicating with patients. The duties that were assigned to me were to either cover the medication room or participate in discharging patients. Within the medication room, I would fill medications and print out new med-lists. When discharging patients I would counsel patients on new medications that they received that visit and answer any questions they may have about current medications they are taking. I very much enjoyed doing both of these processes with counseling patients being my most favorite.

Other things that I was able to learn to do or participate in included administering flu vaccines to patients, performing point of care testing (A1Cs, Random glucose readings, urine analysis, etc.), and performing the initial triage of patients. On a couple of Saturdays in the month, I helped with flu clinics that were either in a community center or a food distribution drive thru. Both of those experiences opened my eyes to the amount of people in need in the community.

To further my experience and knowledge of the type of community the Health Partners clinic serves, Justin provided reading material in the form of two interesting books, Dreamland and Tattoos on the Heart. Dreamland is a book that explains the beginnings of the opioid epidemic in Ohio. It highlights the pharmaceutical businesses that came out with high dose opioids like Oxycontin, patients that took these opioids then transitioned to heroin and the drug dealing organizations that would supply the heroin. The book was an excellent read and I would recommend every pharmacy student read it. Tattoos on the Heart was a memoir of a preacher who integrated himself into the Latino gang community of Los Angeles to not only learn about them but teach them how they can live a better life. I would recommend this book to anyone who may be religious or spiritual.

Being a woman of color and having the ancestry I have provided me with a unique experience to meet Larry (my distant cousin who is a black pillar in the Piqua community) and see all the ideas that he has for a black history community center. This experience is one that I will not be able to find at any of my other pharmacy internship sites and makes me very appreciative of this rotation. I want to thank Justin for going above and beyond to make my rotation special and personal to my life.

Health Partners free clinic is a unique rotation experience. I was honored to be able to communicate with patients coming from an underserved community. Justin and his staff have the biggest hearts. I felt that I was making a difference in each patient’s life when counseling them on their prescriptions. The patients also helped me learn cultural sensitivity when it came to talking with patients with different backgrounds than my own.

Jake

This past month I was able to serve and learn through Health Partner’s Free Clinic in Troy. This is a unique facility with an incredible focus and vision for the community. The staff are all extremely welcoming and knowledgeable in their respective professions. The thing that stood out to me the most from this facility is the respect and care that is shown to each and every patient. Even when the patient could be acting difficult, was being nonadherent to their medications, or just blatantly being rude, the staff continued to demonstrate true empathy and heart as they serve.

When looking at the true respect and care that is shown to them, it makes sense to me why the patient would choose to attend a free health clinic. It was also a very beneficial thing to be able to provide the patients with their free medications right on the spot. They didn’t have to drive somewhere else and wait in line, rather they could continue to sit in their room and wait for the meds to be filled and dispensed. Then I could take the medications into the patient and answer any questions that they may have. This facility truly is a one-stop-shop for wholistic care.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the other services that were offered during the month of my rotation. There was food available for people in need, new socks, facemasks, flu shots, and help signing up for Medicare/Medicaid. It seemed like whatever a person could ask for, there was either direct aid there, or someone who they could point them to. This is extremely valuable for these people, as they may not be able to drive far distances or get their ride to drive them to numerous different places.

Another thing that truly struck me was how the Executive Director, Justin, was truly set to be a teacher to myself and the other pharmacy student. There were numerous times when Justin would pop in for a few minutes and ask me a deep question related to my future. This would lead to a conversation which was mutually beneficial, as we discussed our different experiences and viewpoints. He possesses a thoughtfulness and intentionality that is unrivaled. Another thing about Justin that I greatly appreciated was the thorough evaluation that he gave me at the midway point and then at the end. At the conclusion of this rotation, Justin gave me tangible things that I can work on to become a better Christian, husband, future father, pharmacist, servant, and person in general. His leadership and ability to properly evaluate situations is commendable, and something that I wish to emulate later in my life as I practice as a pharmacist.

While I may not remember all of the medicine and information that was discussed at this rotation, the conversations with Justin, and feedback that he gave me at my evaluation are things that I will never forget. I truly appreciate his care this past month, and the wonderful work that this clinic is doing for people all around Miami County.