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Out of the Mouths of Babes: A Student Perspective

August 28, 2014

The month of August brought with it yet another bright-eyed pharmacy student to the Clinic.  Health Partners had the good fortune of spending these last 30 days with Pharm. D. Candidate Cody.  Cody, like many students, felt led to team up with the Clinic, because of a calling.  However, the calling is not always what it seems, and what Cody learned while with Health Partners was not what he expected.  Cody was kind enough to share his convictions and heart in our most recent edition of Student Perspectives:

“Providing medical care for the uninsured and under-insured” – This is Health Partner’s (HP) mission statement.  Upon reading the description during the rotation ranking process, I thought immediately this would be a great place to be and to bring the gospel.  After my second pass at ranking, HP went from 3rd on the list to dead last.  I was nervous… I felt called to serve but was reluctant.  When the rotation assignments came out however, HP was there (my third rotation no less).  Upon arriving here and sitting down with Justin we talked and had an overview of the site right away.  The thing that I remember most among the multitude of things Justin told me was, “We have to meet the patients where they are and not where we think they should be“.  Now I realize the absolute truth in that statement. At the beginning of the month, however, I thought “Okay, the patients are sick now so that means I will meet them at their level of sickness, provide therapy according to the guidelines and evidence based medicine as all good health care practitioners should, and we will see them again getting better and taking those recommendations we have given”.  If only people (myself included) were so simple! There is such a deep back story to all of our patients here that is unknown and impossible to know in just one month; but what I came to truly understand is that being in a hard place is predicated by many more factors than anyone could ever know, including the patient.

Meeting the patient where they are.  It is often not a great place.  This clinic is the last safety net that many people have before they are lost through the cracks of the health care maze and as a result their disease states have gone unchecked for some time.  How could I not understand meeting the patients where they are at?  I was once in a similar situation.  Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords met me where I was at three years ago.

I was not in a great place.  I was lost, on my way to Hell, and valuing everything in the world besides the one thing that truly mattered, God (oh and it wasn’t noticeable to most people as they were, and many still are, in the same boat I was in).  Jesus did not require me to get better before I came to him and he waited until I was ready (and thank God I became ready to accept the free gift of salvation before God’s patience ran out).  All I had to do was believe in my heart and declare Jesus to be my Savior and that was it! No strings attached!

Romans 10:9-10

                9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

                10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Such an amazing thing.  God was there waiting for me, wanting the best for me, trying to reach out to me!  Amazing!  All I had to do was to be at a point where I wanted to make a change, where I decided that I had had enough, where I saw the path I was going down was leading.  This is exactly what we as health care practitioners need to do.  Be there when the patient is ready to change, when the patient has had enough, when the patient sees where their path is leading.

Meeting the patient where they are.  I now understand the meaning of this simple, yet powerful statement.

Health Partners has been a blessing.  I have been able to have open, faith-based conversations with some of the staff.  And while politics and religion are said to be two things to avoid, I ask who made that rule?  Satan?!  I don’t know of any Bible verse that says to avoid the topic of religion.

Romans 10:14-15

                14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

                15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

What I have not yet had the chance to do is have a faith-based conversation with any of the patients.  I have felt convicted of this and as such challenge myself to have conversations where the gospel is given.  After all, how will they believe if they haven’t heard and how will they hear if no one tells them?  How does this relate to health care?

In Genesis 1:27, the Bible states So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. God is a three part being Father, Son, and Spirit (I John 5:7) meaning that each of these is separate yet one.  Man is made in God’s image therefore he is three parts (once saved): spirit, body, and soul each separate yet one.  So how can we expect to provide health care to only part of man?  Granted a specific part may need to be focused on but health is a holistic picture.  And if we willingly care for the body of this life, how much then should we care for our soul by beseeching the Lord to have his spirit dwell within us, ensuring our eternal life? (John 14:6, John 11:25-26, John 10:28, Mark 8:36, John 3:16)

In short, God has laid upon my heart this month that nothing should be done without the focus being on him and for him.

Colossians 3:23

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;