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Student Perspective: Julia

November 30, 2017

Perhaps the most rewarding thing about working with students is when you watch them come to a conclusion that was created by a thought process that was stirred by a lesson taught.  Students are often good at regurgitating the same message that has been force-fed into them, but rarely are these creative thoughts.  This past month Julia, our pharmacy extern from Ohio Northern University, went on the journey with us that led her to a new conclusion and she was kind enough to share it in the November edition of Student Perspective:

From the moment I stepped through the doors into the clinic, I knew that this place was more than just a clinic, it was a family. Throughout this rotation, I had the pleasure of getting to know both the staff and the patients that make this place so special. The relationship they have with each other is not just the typical healthcare-patient relationship. It is much more than that – it is kinship. I am thankful to have been a part of this kinship, this feeling of being connected to one another, for the past month and will greatly miss working here and being a part of that kinship as I continue on through my rotations.

During this past month, I had the opportunity to read the book, Tattoos on the Heart, by Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest. Fr. Gregory, or “G” as he’s known by his homies, talks extensively about kinship and its role in humanity and in compassion. I truly believe that this kinship and compassion can transform the world around us. If we stop and take a moment to love one another, to feel this kinship with them, how many of the world’s problems would be solved? Working with the underserved, some people may be quick to judge how that person is dealing with all of their hardships. I would challenge them to strive towards the compassion that Fr. G talks about: the “compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” Let that sink in a moment – that we should stand in awe at the crosses and hardships that other people have to deal with, rather than how they react to their hardships. If someone approaches you in a disgruntled manner, often it is because of something they are dealing with in life. They are not inherently mean. We are all God’s creation, made in perfect love. Often, they are lacking someone in their life to show them and remind them of that love. When someone is going through their hardest battles, do not stand in judgment at how they are carrying their cross. Instead, be that love to them. Listen to them and share with them the kindness and love that we were created to share with each other.

We all have our crosses to carry in this life. It is our responsibility to take those crosses that we have, and to use them to relate to those around us and truly feel with them, not just for them, and most certainty not in judgment. If we allow ourselves to feel that kinship, that compassion, we can be transformed by each other. We all have a lot to learn from each other. We all have our own experiences and hardships. I would not trade a single hardship that I have gone through in my life, simply because those hardships allow me to feel a connection with those around me, creating a kinship with them. I understand what they are going through, and I want to be by their side, helping them through that hardship. I am thankful for the hardships I have gone through, and I am thankful to have to opportunity to walk with others on their journey, helping them carry their cross if I am able.

One of Fr. G’s quotes states, “it’s more important that they know you, than that they know what you know.” While he wasn’t talking about medicine at the time, I think this applies very well to the clinic and to healthcare in general. As a pharmacy student, it is easy to get wrapped up in the medicine and make all of these great plans to help the patient. But all of that means nothing if you don’t get to know your patient, and they in turn get to know you, building that comradery, that kinship, that relationship of mutual trust and love.

This rotation has taken place during the season of Thanksgiving. I am reminded of how thankful I am to have gotten to know the patients and the staff here. They have all impacted me in their own way and will stay with me for years to come. I think what I gained most from this rotation is learning how to incorporate that kinship into my everyday practice of pharmacy. The world is a much greater place when we stand side by side and walk this journey together in kinship.