Student Perspective: Gina

February 27, 2017

In today’s hustle-and-bustle healthcare environment, often patient care is provided with one eye on the clock.  Time is money, though no practitioner wishes to sacrifice the quality of care.  Here at Health Partners Free Clinic, we have the unique opportunity to provide an environment that is 100% patient-focused.  The difference this makes is clear when we have young students who can take time with their patient interactions.  This is Gina’s, our February pharmacy extern from Cedarville University, wheelhouse.  Over the past month, she has done an excellent job of communicating with our patients in order to understand their healthcare needs and barriers.  She shares her take on a month spent at Health Partners in this month’s edition of Student Perspective:     

Working at Health Partners has been an extremely eye opening experience. The people who walk in this clinic are usually in a gap in life, whether it’s changing jobs, trying to get a job, or just looking for help to get through life. I have had many patient interactions, some where they are hungry for information and others where it is a struggle to even get them to face the problem. In the end, both interactions are beneficial because you learn how to break down barriers and get to the root of the problem.

During this month, I worked with nurse practitioners, nursing students, and nurses learning from their interactions with patients. Sometimes, people look at the doctor thinking, “I know they’re going to ask me to diet and exercise,” and they shut down automatically to what the doctor is saying. At Health Partners, you have many different people from different backgrounds interacting with patients. This is what makes Health Partners unique. You do not have one person talking to the patient, but you have an interdisciplinary approach. If there is a patient struggling then not only do the doctors talk with them, but the nurses ask how they can provide resources. Pharmacists or pharmacy students try to help them understand their medications or just talk about struggles in their life and figure out how we can help.

There are also resources to help patients get back on their feet through social services or get insurance through a navigator. All the resources at Health Partners are about helping that patient in all aspects of life. When one goes to a doctor’s office they are usually one of a long list, but here each patient is known by name and carefully talked to and listened to. I have had the pleasure of experiencing all the services sitting down with each person and learning their part, and I can step back and truly say this clinic is more about helping people where they’re at in life than just helping them feel better.

I have heard patients say, “I only feel good when I’m here.” Honestly the true testament to this clinic is not the students who come through and get something out of this rotation and walk away with a new look on life, but it’s the patients who come through day after day and laugh and cry with people telling their stories and knowing someone cares.

The patients here are not just people on a list. They are people who have stories and backgrounds and are trying to make it through life just like the rest of us, and you can see the care on the faces of the people who work at the clinic. Health partners truly comes along side of patients and help them through life the best they can. I am sure I am just one of many students who have this type of experience, but I hope that this experience will help me take the skills I have learned here, and put it into wherever I may be serving next.