Resident Perspective: Derrick

July 31, 2017

For the first time in our nearly 20 year existence, Health Partners Free Clinic has a pharmacy resident!  How cool!  So…what’s a pharmacy resident? Unlike the typical pharmacy extern that we have here at the Clinic, our pharmacy resident, Derrick, has graduated with his degree and will soon be a fully licensed pharmacist.  He has committed to spend one year at Health Partners, in order to continue his education in caring for the underserved.  Also, he will delve into an academic study here at the Clinic that we will be able to present next summer. The Clinic looks forward to the year ahead, but, at a month in, Derrick already has a fresh Perspective:

As the first month of my pharmacy residency comes to a close at Health Partners Free Clinic, I am prompted to reflect on my experience thus far. I graduated pharmacy school eager to start my career, hungry to learn more, and excited to be a part of a fresh residency program. I am new to Troy as well as to the clinic, so that gives me the unique perspective of being an outsider. Although I knew the clinic existed for good reason, my first impression of Troy as a nice, clean, well-to-do, quiet town had a small part of my mind doubting if the area was all that bad. I was naïve.

My wake-up call came the first time I worked the evening walk-in clinic. The building was bustling with activity and we worked non-stop. I met people from all walks of life, each having different scenarios bringing them here. Being thrown into the workflow right from the start, one word comes to mind: overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the poor state of health of our neighbors who walk through our door. Overwhelmed at the suffering and lack of care festering right under our noses. Overwhelmed at the amount of problems without solutions. Overwhelmed at the number of people slipping through the cracks of “the system”. Overwhelmed at the work to be done in our community. The night was sobering. I left physically exhausted, mentally weary, and emotionally drained.

Despite the impression written so far, my experience has been a positive one! I am very happy and my work is fulfilling. I am blessed to have the opportunity to join this organization. I am thankful that this clinic exists for Miami County. I see our interdisciplinary team filling the gaps in the system, meeting needs, and solving problems on a daily basis. Furthermore, I have been motivated by my experience to use my skillset as a pharmacist to contribute to the team over the next year.

I can already tell this place is growing and developing me, both as a pharmacist and as a person. Navigating through a patient encounter with educational and motivational barriers, selecting medications that fit both the patient and our resources, and working with other professionals has put my book knowledge to use. Interacting personally with the patient population on a daily basis is teaching me what it really means to serve. Seeing the joy of a person receiving care and hearing them exclaim what this place means to them is showing me what community is.

This clinic is more than medical care, and perhaps it will set an example to society. We touch all areas of a patient’s life! My worldview has changed and my perception of healthcare has been expanded. The thought I will conclude with is one that has been on my mind this entire month. If these things are hiding in plain sight in Troy, how much need must there be all across other communities!