Student Perspective: Kwazy and Taylor
October 31, 2018
This past October, the Clinic hosted externs Kwazy, from Cedarville University, and Taylor, from Ohio Northern University, as a part of their final year of schooling. Often, the Clinic hopes for impact in these relationships. We hope to impact the student in a way that will better their career, and, we pray, the students will impact those we are fortunate to call our patients. “Impact”, is definitely a word we could use when describing the students’ experience over the last 30 days, and they were kind enough to share some words about that in this month’s edition of Student Perspective:
Growing up and living in a small town, I have seen people in my county struggle with access to care. I always thought that it was due to the small population we had in the county and surrounding counties. When I came to Troy, OH I never imagined that a city so large, to me, would be experiencing the same lack of care as my small town.
The care patients receive at Health Partners Free Clinic is exceptional. The system they have created to diagnose, counsel, dispense and provide resources all in the same visit has really made an impact on adherence and overall patient satisfaction. It has also allowed many people to access care that was previously not available due to working hours or other barriers. The staff is some of the most kind and compassionate people I have had the pleasure of working with. It is evident that they care for each patient who walks through those doors, no matter what background they come from or current situation they are in.
Being at the clinic truly felt like home for me. Talking with patients, counseling on new medications, and making recommendations was not always an easy task. At Health Partners, you catch yourself starting to make decisions not on the current situation or state of health someone is in, but based on what their future looks like. What can we provide today that will still be accessible in 6 months, or one year?
Service is an important part of HPFC that each staff member embodies. I was able to participate in a few outreach events at the local soup kitchens by providing blood pressure readings and glucose tests. A middle-aged woman approached me asking for her blood sugar to be tested and we began talking about her life and what her healthcare consisted of. She stated that she had lost her insurance and was out of all of her medications. I proceeded to tell her to stop by our walk-in clinic the following evening and we would do our best to help her out. I did not get my hopes up that the woman would show, as she seemed hesitant, however on Thursday evening when she walked in, a smile came over my face. It was a great feeling knowing that because of an encounter that happened after clinic hours, God had sent her to access care that she had been in need of. We were able to provide care for her and she now has access to all of her medications.
My month at HPFC opened my eyes to a different side of health care that I truly believe is what we are moving towards. A patient centered system that gets rid of the barriers people face and providing access to care to all of those in need. HPFC showed me why I chose healthcare.
In the month of October, I had a very unique experience at Health Partners Free Clinic. This is one of the few places I recommend for students who want to extend their skills in serving the underserved. The Pharmacy service provides one hundred percent counseling to all patients concerning their medications so it was an opportunity for me to interact with the patients.
I had the opportunity to learn from different physicians and nurses. Each staff member made sure that I felt comfortable as I was going, told me all the information I needed to know, and always made themselves available whenever I needed help. Volunteers were always willing to assist and answer questions.
Two of my favorite people were Justin (preceptor) and Joann (Nurse practitioner). I got the opportunity to work with them consecutively for the month. The two of them combined taught me more about compassion and loyalty than any textbook ever could. Joann shows no discrimination and the kind of relationship she builds with the patients is unique. Justin is one of the nicest preceptors one can ever work with. No patient is ever too much for him and he never hesitates to go out of his way to help others. Anytime I spent with him, I couldn’t ever feel inferior and I have no idea how he can be so wonderful all the time to create this kind of environment in the healthcare field. My goals for the rotation were to know what is meant to be underserved and the challenges this population faces and also what I can do to make a difference.
The majority of these patients that came in the clinic were either hypertensive, diabetic or needed help with smoking cessation. Smoking is a common problem in these populations and my first site project was using behavioral counseling in dealing with child secondhand smoke exposure and promoting quit rates in the underserved population. One thing I also noticed about this facility is how they make patience assistance program very easy for their patients. They also go out of their way to make sure patients without insurance are able to save money on their medications and get the needed help.
It was rewarding that every week I was working on something that I hope it’s going to impact others long after I am gone. Some of these patients have struggling times in their lives and may start to feel that they are not being heard. I learned not to judge these patients but rather understand and communicate well with them using motivational interviewing.
I really enjoyed my experience at HPFC. At the end, talking to Justin and he expressing gratitude on what impact our projects had for them was a happy moment. It made me feel I also made a difference. Going forward, I just want to be able to draw on this experience and say that having a rotation at HPFC made a difference in my career.