Student Perspective: Abby

December 30, 2016

Have you ever met someone that just couldn’t stop themselves from knowing everything there is to know about a subject?  Someone who has to scratch the surface, get their hands in the dirt, and really experience all there is to offer? Well that would perfectly describe our December pharmacy extern, Abby.  Working here at the Clinic over the past 30 days wasn’t enough for her, so in order to better understand the needs of our patients she volunteered at the local soup kitchen each night after her shift was over.  Abby truly engulfed herself in service to those in need and was kind enough to share her Perspective with us:

My experience at Health Partners is one that I will never forget. From the moment I walked in the door I felt so welcomed and that is the feeling I think every patient experiences as well. I had never been in a free clinic before but Health Partners far surpassed any of my expectations. Justin showed me around and expressed that having a high quality facility was extremely important because he wants every person to take pride in the care that they receive. I admired each patient that walked through our doors because it takes courage and humility to ask for help and most people don’t have the strength to do that. Throughout my time at the clinic I began to understand that Health Partners isn’t just a free clinic, it is a safe haven and a second family to many of the patients because of the relationships the staff has formed with them.

Being at the clinic during the holiday season was extra special because everyone was in the giving spirit. It amazed me how much passion and dedication the staff has for their patients, not only in regards to their health, but to their overall well-being. Whether it was ensuring they had all the medications they needed, giving them a ride home in the freezing cold or handing out Christmas turkeys and gift cards, everyone at the clinic was willing to give to those who needed a little extra help to make their holiday special. I also had the honor of attending the annual volunteer dinner and seeing that room full of people dedicated to helping out perfect strangers truly inspired me.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to volunteer at a local soup kitchen and every night I would leave the clinic and head over just in time to serve dinner which really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am. I would meet and talk to people I had just seen in the clinic that week and seeing them outside of the health care setting really helped me to understand them as people rather than just patients. These are our neighbors, ordinary people with families to take care of and it was an honor to get to know them and take care of them.

As pharmacists, it’s easy to want to treat every patients’ condition by the book or by the lab results but this experience has taught me to treat the individual and to tailor my counseling and recommendations to their own personal situation and circumstances. My time at Health Partners allowed many unique learning opportunities as a pharmacy student, but it taught me far more about being humble, empathetic and thankful which are lessons that can’t be taught in the classroom.