Student Perspective: Emily

October 31, 2017

The Clinic is rarely blessed to have a pharmacy extern that is also a resident of Miami County.  These students come to us from Ohio Northern University and Cedarville University as part of their one month rotations, and, so, are typically from out of the area. October, however, held for us that blessed treat as our pharmacy extern for the month was Emily who happens to be a Piquanian!  She used this motivation as a local steward to serve those in need in her community and shares her insights in this month’s Perspective

As someone who has lived in Miami County all of my life, I felt very fortunate to have a rotation so close to home and in my own community. I had heard so much about Health Partners throughout my time living in Troy and Piqua that I felt even more excited about this particular rotation and all of the good work that this clinic does. I also knew that this month would give me a wonderful perspective on patient care – how to be more empathetic, non-judgmental, and look at the patient as a whole, which it certainly did. Health Partners has a faith-filled mission to provide quality care for the underserved and an incredible passion to put the patient first. Something I was told during my time here is that this clinic strives to provide superior care for its patients despite being a free clinic, which is very admirable and shows that this organization has their heart and mind in the right place.

I grew up in Miami County and I lived (and still live) an extremely blessed life. I was given incredible opportunities, a wonderful education, and great family and friends. It was like I lived in a “bubble” and was almost unaware of the plight of the poor and underserved in my own community. Health partners has really opened my eyes to the needs of the community and those living in it – and that there is always a way to help, whether it be through donating resources, time, or even just giving someone a smile and providing some positivity.

One thing I have learned this month is that a clinic whose foundation is built on volunteers and donations is a clinic that is definitely going to be patient-centered rather than focused on money or how to stay in business. I was completely struck by the volunteers and staff members at Health Partners and their willingness to help in whatever way possible. Whether it be by organizing charts, checking patients into the clinic, helping patients with insurance, or helping them find other resources, the people at Health Partners are truly one of a kind and I felt incredibly blessed to get to know them throughout my time here.

As part of my rotational experience, I was able to observe and take patient vitals, count prescriptions, provide medication recommendations, and counsel patients on new medications and medication adherence. It was such an amazing experience for me to listen to patients’ stories and apply the knowledge I learned in school by helping them better understand the medications they take. I was incredibly blessed to be able to help the patients in any way I could. I felt like when I was in school I learned a lot about theories, numbers, and guidelines (which, don’t get me wrong, is very important!) It’s not until I stepped into the “real world” that I understood more how to treat the patient and not just a medical problem, and this rotation solidified that further for me. It is incredibly important to know what might stop a patient from taking a medication or making a lifestyle change and having a conversation with them to help create the best therapeutic plan for them. Patient-centered care is something that Health Partners does well – and that’s not surprising. With a team that includes many aspects of health care – doctors, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, etc. –  it is easy to collaborate with each other to provide the best care for the patients.

As I go on to other rotations and the rest of my career as a pharmacist, I know I will not forget the people I encountered, the skills I learned, and the stories I heard throughout my month here at the clinic. To say that this was a once in a lifetime experience seems cliche, but it is not an exaggeration. I have learned not only how to be a better pharmacist, but a better person. As I go throughout my life wherever I end up, in whatever experience I come across, whether it be at home, at a pharmacy, or just out in the world, I know that there is always going to be more to a person’s story than what is on the surface. Knowing how to listen, empathize, and create that conversation with a patient is what makes a healthcare professional go from good to great – and the wonderful people at Health Partners have taught me that there is always more than what meets the eye.