One of the best parts of my time with National Health Corps (NHC) has been the opportunity to serve on clinical and volunteer teams. Our NHC members are a team. My host site staff is a team. Since the first month of service, when our program staff set the precedent with a team-building day at a rock-climbing gym, team work has been one of the major themes of my service.
Our NHC team serves together during monthly service projects and it’s always a good time. Projects vary from chaperoning kids during a giant holiday party to assembling dozens of bookshelves for reading nooks. Last week we helped prepare a public playground for its spring opening. We worked together to mulch trees and do a litter sweep. It really takes team motivation to serve outside in the middle of February!
Patient care at my host site is similarly team-based. I serve at a Federally-Qualified Health Center in Southwest Philadelphia called the Family Practice and Counseling Network (FPCN): Health Annex. Our care is comprehensive. Patients have a whole team of practitioners including nurses, nutritionists, social workers, therapists, and front desk staff. My role is to help patients enroll in health insurance coverage, a small but important piece of the clinical puzzle. For me to do this effectively I have to work directly with other members of the clinical team. To find a suitable mailing address for a patient may involve the social worker, for example, or determining eligibility for a specific program may involve a clinical assessment from the nurse practitioner. When a difficult or complex patient comes along, we often have to come together in an impromptu meeting to figure out the best way forward for the patient.
It is from these team-based activities that I have learned the most during my NHC term. I have picked up clinical and interpersonal skills from serving directly beside experienced practitioners and have broadened my perspective on healthcare and inequality with conversations with NHC members. And NHC teamwork vibe is infectious. A bunch of our NHC members have formed an intramural soccer team. We are currently in the playoffs. Wish us luck!
This blog post was written by NHC Philadelphia member Owen Dean.
Owen serves as a Health & Benefits Advocate at Family Practice & Counseling Network - The Health Annex.