News

Student Perspective: Erika

February 26, 2016

Though the month of February is a short one, Erika, our Ohio Northern University extern, did not let that keep her from creating a lasting impact on the Clinic.  She went above and beyond all tasks assigned to her, and even came up with some ideas of her own.  Health Partners is grateful for what Erika provided to our patients.  The Clinic was also grateful to leave a lasting impact on her as well.  Take a moment to read her take-away from a month spent at Miami County’s sole free clinic in this month’s Student Perspective:

I had the honor of joining the Health Partners Free Clinic staff for the month of February. I have worked in pharmacy for four years now. In that time, I have seen patients refuse medications due to cost. I have seen mothers refuse to fill medication for their children. I have seen husbands and wives share medications to cut costs. I have seen my pharmacists pay for patients’ medications because the patient truly could not afford a maintenance medication. Therefore, I had an idea of what to expect during my month in a clinic for the uninsured and underinsured, but I never truly prepared myself for the hardships I would encounter. From this, there were two specific themes I gathered from the month: selflessness and compassion.

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I saw many different patients who seemed to have very similar stories, where their personal selflessness showed their true character. I encountered a patient who was taking a medication less than prescribed because she wanted to save the medication for someone who truly needed it. This person did truly need it to treat her health condition, but continued to think of others before herself. There was another patient who was not practicing adequate personal hygiene for herself due to guilt of not paying for the utilities in the house she shared. This person put her family’s needs before her own. A patient told me about the clothes, toys, and other items she donated to various homeless shelters around the area. When asked what made her think to do this, she stated it was the right thing to do. The selfless acts by these patients, and many others like them, warmed my heart. All have their own hardships to bear, but many look at a bigger picture and continue to think of others first.

The staff expressed these characteristics of selflessness and compassion as well. There have been many different work environments I have encountered during this last year of schooling. This, by far, has been one of the most inviting and compassionate groups of people. The staff comes in early to prepare for the day and stays late after patients have left. They take various phone calls from people who cannot be helped by the clinic directly, but take the time to direct them to people who can help. A lady called the clinic one day looking for someone to help with her medical condition. Due to certain circumstances, she did not have any insurance ever though she was over the age of 65 and qualified for Medicare. The whole staff was concerned for this person and worked together to provide resources to that person. I have had many patients ask for a specific nurse practitioner by name. One gentleman said it felt good to know that somebody cared about his health and he could tell that she truly cared and listened.

Overall, this has been a humbling experience for me. I’ve learned to look past the medical history and truly look at the patient’s entire history and situation. I want to thank the entire staff for this opportunity. This is truly an experience I will never forget