As my two years of service comes to a close and I reflect while completing medical school applications, I can’t help but write about the many gems I've discovered during my time with Americorps, the most recent being a lesson on the beauty of serving on a team.
I serve as a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center Clemente. I kicked off my year of service full of new ideas and excited to make things happen, however; there was one essential thing I hadn't yet considered: what does it mean to serve on a team that consists of individuals with different and separate responsibilities? More specifically, what role does a creative soul like myself play within this team? Within Erie Clemente specifically, the team consists of a Patient Benefit Advisor, a Medical Assistant, a Social Worker, a Provider, and me, the Health Educator. At some point the question came to my mind: how can I harness the power of the Erie Clemente team?
First and foremost, through multiple impactful experiences, I learned how communication amongst team members can be used to improve services. To illustrate, after showing students how to correctly use condoms during a freshman sexual health education class, I overheard my team members having a discussion about freshmen who didn’t know how to use condoms correctly. After listening to this conversation, I realized that even though I was teaching students, the material clearly did not resonate with some of them. Consequently, I diversified my teaching methods and I developed questions to help students process the information. In this case, strong communication amongst teammates created a more accurate picture of students and their needs, which, in turn, allowed for improvements in pregnancy prevention programming.
In addition to developing better communication skills, I realized that I don’t have to do everything by myself and that although we have different responsibilities, we are all serving together to meet the same goals. This realization allowed me to reach a point where I felt comfortable asking for help--and everything went much smoother once I had assistance. There will always be coworkers who excel in areas that challenge me. If we put our skills together, we can address the issue more thoroughly than either individual could have alone.
With each of the challenges I have faced during my time with Americorps, I have gained an invaluable lesson. I will bring my insight regarding communication, and much more, with me as I move on to the next chapter of my life. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity I was given, the chance to learn from my amazing Erie Family. I look forward to using this insight to provide great healthcare one day in the future.
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2018-19 member Emonii Robinson.
Emonii is a Health Educator at Erie Family Health Center - Clemente.