Student Perspective: Brianne and Dylan
June 30, 2020
The month of June could be described as frantic at best. Our Country and community continues to be tested from all directions and the Clinic has done our best to provide those in need a safe and caring space to turn to. That certainly would have been impossible without the hands of our two pharmacy externs, Brianne, from Ceadrville University, and Dylan, from Ohio Northern University. They literally became part of our team and owned their work! Please take a moment to read their Perspective of a month spent with Health Partners:
Health Partners Free Clinic was my very first clinical rotation, and I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful place to experience the transition from typical student to a full-time hands-on learner and almost-pharmacist. Justin and the other pharmacists gave me the independence to begin to learn what it is like to function as a practicing pharmacist but also provided plenty of guidance and willingness to answer all my questions along the way. I was also thankful for the opportunity to work with many different amazing nurse practitioners and nurses over my month at the clinic. They included me as one of their team through consultations, questions, and requests for medication counseling and I gained so much clinical knowledge by interacting with each of them.
While I am thankful for the growth that I experienced in my counseling skills, my ability to make recommendations, and clinical knowledge, I think that the greatest impact that this rotation had was on my outlook on empathy. While at school we were taught to listen to our patients and to try and understand where they are coming from. But reading about empathy and practicing it in simulated situations is not nearly the same as getting to experience it in real life with real people.
Health Partners is a free clinic, which means that many patients end up here when they have nowhere else to turn, and many come from very, very difficult situations. As a
future pharmacist, it can be easy to get frustrated when a patient isn’t taking their medication as they should be or seems to be blowing off their responsibility to make lifestyle changes. But in actuality, when I took the time to slow down, listen, and really try to understand where my patients were coming from and what was going on in their life did I finally get an understanding of what was truly causing their medication issues. And often, it really had nothing to do with a patient’s willingness to take their medications or make changes in their life!
This reminder that many are experiencing hardships that are unseen from the surface is one that I plan to not take lightly. And while it is a good lesson to keep in mind as I proceed on my path to becoming a pharmacist, it can also be applied to my life outside of pharmacy as well. This world is hurting and broken and to take the time to listen and care about others rather than just getting caught up in the busyness of our own life is something that I think most of us can work on.
The month of June has flown by here at the clinic. I will strive not to forget the lessons that I have learned and to continue in the growth that I have made as I continue on my rotations this year. Health Partners Free Clinic and the work that they do will always hold a special place in my heart and memories.
I could not have had a better first clinical rotation: starting out my last year of pharmacy school at Health Partners has been an amazing experience. Each day coming into the clinic I knew I would be working alongside some of the best nurse practitioners and volunteers; helping take care of the patients in Miami county.
At the beginning, I had no idea what the month would all entail. After the first week I had checked someone’s A1c, drawn blood for an INR, and even gave an immunization. These are all things that I had no idea would become part of my everyday routine here at the clinic. It is truly amazing that we are able to get the experience to do these tests, expanding our knowledge and comfort level.
One of the other things that will stick with me is how willing and engaging the nurse practitioners are to hear our opinion for what should be done to the patients care plan. We would go in and see the patient and get a brief history from them, and then the NP would ask “Well, what do you think we should do?” This on the spot question made me nervous at first, but I am now wanting to be involved in every patient’s treatment.
Not only did I learn many clinical pearls throughout the month, I also got a dose of empathy. It is not every day you can see a patient come in and hear their story and what has led them to the place they are today. This month made me step back and realize that medications are only one part to a patient’s overall health. Food, housing, transportation, support of family and friends all play a huge role in a patient’s health and I will remember this going forward through my year of clinical rotations and into my practice as a pharmacist. I would like to thank everyone at HPFC for a great experience and great month, it is truly one I will never forget.