Student Perspective: April

April 28, 2016

Many people have varying ideas of what a free clinic is and who these clinics serve.  Our students are no exception as they rarely get the opportunity to spend extensive time in one.  April, our most recent pharmacy extern from Cedarville University, fits into that category with only limited experience with our demographic.  What she found was certainly eye opening.  Health Partners thanks April for all her help over the past month and she leaves us with her fresh Perspective:


Over these last nine months as I completed my pharmacy rotations, I had many different experiences. When I was getting ready to come to Health Partners Free Clinic I did not know what to expect. Thinking about patients in a free clinic, people can get very judgmental and stereotype the individuals that would go or need a free clinic. People might expect the patients to not be very clean and not take care of themselves. I know that I am guilty of thinking this way in the past as well. Well I know now that this is wrong.

A lot of these patients work but just do not make enough to pay for a doctor visit or for medications. Some of these patients own their own business but cannot afford to pay their deductibles on their insurance plan. Some of these patients just cannot find a job in this moment but cannot go without their medications or there will be worse complications. I learned quickly that there is not one “type” of person that comes to the clinic, but anyone can find themselves here. No matter where you are in life, things could change. The clinic is a great resource for the entire community so that they have someone to help them when they need it.

I really enjoyed being able to speak to the patients that came to the clinic. In general they were so kind and even interested in me and my schooling. I loved listening to their stories and hearing how they got to where they are in life. It was nice to see them being so open and willing to talk to me. Many patients were so grateful that this clinic was here because they had no where else to go. There were also many patients that loved the clinic staff so much, that they never wanted to leave and I do not blame them.

Another area I really enjoyed is that I did get to see some of the patients again. There were several patients that I saw a couple of times throughout my month rotation because they needed to follow up with the nurse practitioner. I liked building that relationship and continuing to talk to them at follow-up visits.

I was so encouraged by my time at Health Partners Free Clinic. You cannot help but be encouraged when you see the staff loving and serving their patients the way that they do. I know I have learned what it means to care for your patients and try to provide the best care for them. This care is not just a medication but a medication that is affordable and will still work. There is a bigger picture and Health Partners helped me to remember to focus on the big picture and not just providing care.