What have I learned during my FHC internship?

24 Aug

I can’t believe that I’m at the end of this 15-week Family Health Center internship already . . . .  It really has flown by so quickly.  Just reflecting over the past 4 months, I am remembering each patient and each heartfelt moment.  This has truly been an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life!

Young or old, each person has given me a greater understanding for my future in nursing.  So many stories will forever be in my heart, and I can only hope that I’ve helped every patient in some small way.

One thing I’ve learned is how to communicate more effectively with patients  . . . .  My KVCC nursing instructors will be so proud to hear that I utilized “therapeutic communication” this summer!!   I also feel more knowledgeable and well-rounded as an LPN and better prepared for my future as an RN.

Overall this experience has made me look at things in my life completely differently.  I know I’m blessed with many things in my life but now I also realize more than ever how important it is to NOT take things for granted.  I have seen so many people whose lives have changed in an instant . . . people who never thought they would be in the predicament where they are today.   They have taught me to appreciate today.

There are many wonderful people that I’ve met at Family Health Center:  Doctors, Physician’s Assistants, Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, Licensed Practical Nurses, Medical Assistants, Front desk staff, Medical Records administrators, Pharmacists and Technicians, Community Relations and many more…..THANK YOU!

To the people who worked along side me,  I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to teach me the ropes and show me new experiences!

And, finally, my tremendous gratitude to Pfizer and KVCC for creating such a remarkable opportunity for me to learn and share my experiences with all of you.



Can’t imagine walking in your footsteps

15 Aug

One of the departments that I’ve enjoyed the most during my time at Family Health Center is OB/GYN.  I’m constantly amazed by each patient and how unique each story of life and survival is . . . 

We had a lovely young lady come in pregnant with her fourth child and doing her health history made me realize how much of a survivor she is.  She is very young to begin with and she has already had 3 children and trying to attend college full-time.  These points alone made me realize how amazing she is. 

During this appointment her youngest was so well behaved and her interaction with him was so loving and affectionate.  At times I forgot I was speaking with a young adult because of her maturity and poise.  Sometime when we see patients at a young age they are not always cooperative or polite and sometimes even act like they don’t care. 

I have two younger kids and go to school full-time and on a daily basis they keep me so busy and challenge me in every way possible. I just can’t imagine being so young with almost four children and going to school full-time. 

These are the kind of stories that make me want to be a better mom to my children.  When I think that my day couldn’t have been any worse, or I’m on my last nerve with my children, or even think that I have bad luck with everything, I will remember this young woman and realize if she can do it….so can I

She is a survivor and I am thankful for gaining that insight!!

The time has arrived…..Go-LIVE!!

28 Jul

What a big week at Family Health Center ….. Electronic Health Records  (“EHR”) has kicked into high gear!

After several months of LONG employee training sessions and all the frustration and challenges that come with “trying something new”…. we are going LIVE!!

The overall goal is to help our patients —  to have documentation, reports, lab results, and medical history for each and every patient (at all 6 locations) at the touch of your finger no matter what location you are in.  This will make things more efficient for everyone and will help patients get more comprehensive care — for example, our pediatrician can see the dentist’s notes and the counselor’s notes etc . . .  and can follow-up on referrals to ensure that patients get the extra help they need.

From what I’ve seen so far, DAY TWO has gone pretty well as far as transitions go.  Construction is ALSO going currently around the building for the new site — which adds to the challenges and the excitement — the future of FHC is just around the corner!

In one of my earlier post I mentioned how patients don’t like changes in new faces which is understandable but now it’s our turn to make a progressive change from inside out to make this a better place for the future.

We will all do this together!

Billboards, Billboards Everywhere!!

26 Jul

Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed more than ever Family Health Center billboards all over the surrounding Kalamazoo area.   It might be a combination of several things as to why . . .

First, with the expansion happening soon we have to get word out on the new things that are happening. Second, I think I’m personally noticing more because I’m employed through FHC. Third, FHC is throwing a Back to School Bash at the end of August.

I think it’s an amazing event for FHC to connect with their patients!   One of the requirements for attending the event is that all kids must be up-to-date with immunizations and get their well-child exam.  It’s a free event so it motivates parents to get their shots up-to-date and a fun event for kids to attend before school starts (bouncies, concessions, games, face painting, live entertainment!)  There are also free dental screenings to help kids & parents learn the importance of taking care of their teeth.   It’s a win-win for all!

I’m very curious to see what the turnout will be like this year.  Last year, about 1,200 kids attended.  I love how the children who attend will also receive a FREE backpack and school supplies. 

FHC needs the community to help by collecting notebooks, pencils, rulers, glue, crayons, markers &colored pencils!  Donations can be dropped off Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Bush Street service door of the Paterson location.  Please help if you can!

Many of  the families in the community who attend Back to School Bash can not  afford these kind of “luxuries” for their kids to start school with.  And most of the kids certainly don’t have the luxury of going out-of-town for a summer vacation trip.    This small gift to them will help these kids start school a little more confident, prepared and happy —  Absolutely an amazing event and I’m glad to be a part of it!

The rare cases we see…

20 Jul

This week I was able to see a rare and unique case at Family Health Center.

It was brought to my attention by one of the Physicians that they wanted to review a case with me that included very unique and rare clinical pathology called uterine didelphys or in layman terms “double uterus.”

This patient has a septated cervix and septated vagina which is a condition less common than other uterine malformations.  In the United States uterine didelphys occurs 0.1-0.5% in women.  After researching this condition it made me realize even more how amazing the female body is!

The fact that a person with this condition can get pregnant in both uteri at the same time as well as deliver at different times is unbelievable.  A female in the UK delivered the first set of viable triplets in 2006.  She gave birth to a pair of identical twins from an egg that implanted into one womb and then divided, and an infant from a single egg that implanted into the other womb.

It’s been exciting to be able to learn about these rare anomalies during my time at Family Health Center.


You must be new here?!

13 Jul

For the last week I have been over at the South location on Centre St. and have been amazed at the difference in locations.  South is much smaller than the main location (on Paterson) which brings quietness.  Usually there are 1-2 providers each day serving patients in six exam rooms.  I have noticed more of a calm environment and fewer no- shows for appointments.

Here more than at Paterson I have  also noticed how important familiar faces are to the patients.  It’s almost instant when I go into a room and they notice that I’m new —  it completely changes their non-verbals.

If I was to received money every time I roomed a patient and was asked, “You must be new?”, “Where is the other MA who works with Dr…..?”,  or “I’ve never seen you before,” I would be rich!

Patients are very particular about having everything the same when they are seen.  Most people do not like change.  I can be one of them so I know where they are coming from.  This is starting to teach me unique ways of making people feel comfortable about the “new face” so they are less nervous.

I think some of the patients know that it’s hard enough for them to get proper health care and when things change it makes them worried that they won’t get the same treatment.

Good Health Care, Pregnancies, STDs . . . Lost in Translation?!

5 Jul

These past two weeks I’ve worked in the OB/GYN department and have had many eye opening experiences!

I am amazed at the number of patients seen in this department. OB/GYN is an area in which I’ve always been interested and this last two weeks has confirmed it!

From the very young to middle-aged women from many different backgrounds, I have really realized how important good health care is to everyone. When you look at the pregnant clients coming in it makes you want to educate them on anything and everything you can because you know how important it will be for the little human inside of them. Whether it was a planned, unplanned, first or multiple pregnancies the earlier you educate the better.

One of the areas that surprises me the most is how many patients come in with STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or STIs (sexually transmitted infections). It is sad to hear very young teenagers learn of their new diagnosis and shocking to see the ones that know that they have something but act like it’s no big deal. Many are in denial about why reoccurrences happen and don’t want to tell their partner because of embarassment or stigma so the partners don’t get properly treated. We want to help take away the stigma from this area of medical care so that people don’t keep passing on disease unnecessarily.

Another area that I’m realizing is so important is being bilingual. There is such a demand in this area of Kalamazoo to have people who can translate so that our patients can get the appropriate care they need. On a daily basis we have to call for translators for many clients.

This is something that I have some schooling for but would definitely consider learning more so I could communicate more with the clients. Luckily, FHC has a variety of bilingual staff members that can be called upon for help.