Free Clinic Student Perspective: Makenna

July 1, 2021

Our pharmacy extern for the month of June, Makenna, came to the clinic as part of her first of nine one-month rotations to complete her pharmacy degree from Ohio Northern University.  She had never worked closely with a free clinic nor had the experience of spending a full month with one.  Regardless of this, Makenna became a valued asset to the Clinic in the past 30 days and offers her Perspective of that time with us.

If I were asked to describe Health Partners Free Clinic and its staff in one word, I would choose “passionate.” This is the word that I have used countless times to explain my first month of pharmacy clinical rotations and how wonderful of an experience it has been. From the administrative staff that works to check the patients in and take care of all their paperwork, to the nursing and student volunteers that gather intake information, the pharmacist who cares for all of the medication needs, and ultimately to the nurse practitioners who run their appointments, they all express so much passion for what they do. This does not even begin to account for the passion that pours out of the offices in both the front and back of the building where staff organizes food banks and assists in getting medical/prescription insurance coverage among other things for all patients who are eligible.

Health Partners has provided me with a great learning experience. I have loved getting to have all the patient interactions that are possible here at the clinic. Getting to do intake with the patients as well as counselling them on their medications at the end of their appointments has really provided me with a way to grow in my patient communication skills. This will help me better care for my patients in the future. Everyone I have spoken with has been so kind and patient. They have been willing to let me grow and learn while taking care of them. Also, the nurse practitioners have included me to help make therapy decision for patients. This was a really great opportunity for me as a student to learn. They could describe a patient situation that they had and then ask me to do research and come up with a plan for the patient. I would be able to share what I found and discuss with them to ensure that the best care decisions were made in order to meet the specific patient’s needs.

Overall, being placed at a free clinic for my June pharmacy rotation provided me with a unique learning experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. The positive attitude and open arms that greeted both me as a student, as well as the patients that come through the doors every day is something that is truly special. I felt welcomed starting the moment I walked in. The patient population served at HPFC trust the care that they receive and many of them enjoy coming in for their appointments. I will never forget the relief that I saw on several patients faces when they realized that they could be cared for in a quality and warming atmosphere without having to pay.