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These few months of service at my Host Site have been full of adventures and learning opportunities. I recall being nervous on my first day at my Host Site. Because it was my first time actually conducting service at a clinic, it was/is a new experience for me, despite the fact that I had helped my dad in agriculture-related jobs since I was very little. During my five months serving at the clinic, I have learned several fundamental concepts about which I was previously unaware. I've also learned new skills, improved as a person, and witnessed how vital health is in a variety of ways. To give you some context for how I've grown as a person, I used to be very timid, and, to be honest, I was terrified and disliked making calls because of how tense I would become and how unsteady my voice would sound. Now, because my host site involves a lot of phone calls, I've learned to enjoy making them because you receive more information, pay attention to patients' tone of voice, and hear how individuals are feeling. I've also stepped outside of my comfort zone and met some really cool people at work and in other offices while making calls to see if patients have attended or have an appointment booked. Considering that I have Julie, another NHC member, at my Host Site; it has made service enjoyable! We've learned a lot from each other and have spent time together outside of service hours. During the first month of Host Site, I was educated and trained on how to use the 'Epic' system for referrals. At first, I felt doing referrals would be difficult because it was something new to me and something I had never done before. Going into the medical field was interesting for me, despite the fact that I graduated with a major in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Child Development. It's like a whole new world of knowledge just waiting to be discovered. Now that I engage in health care, I'm learning medical terms I never knew existed. Whenever I came across a medical word that I didn't recognize, I would immediately conduct a fast Google search to find out what it meant and write it down in a notepad I had. Now that I'm familiar with these terminologies, I understand how referrals work and the steps required to initiate and finish a referral.
In my position, I am in charge of the complete guidance process, from the original request to the final appointment/closed referral. Although I do not verify insurance coverage or receive appropriate authorizations, I do observe when my co-workers complete that portion of the referral. I got to observe how my coworkers did it during our shadowing training, and it did look a little complicated. Given that we only have limited access to certain content, the role I occupy has been enjoyable. Another skill I've learned is how to communicate with patients. I am able to provide patients with information regarding their referrals in this area, including what to expect, any necessary preparations, and the details of their visits if an appointment has been scheduled that the patient is unaware of. This is where social contact enters the picture. Other skills I have acquired include managing the referral process, following up on referrals, and providing customer service. Knowledge of medical terminology and procedures, the ability to collaborate effectively with medical staff, the ability to work in an environment that is fast-paced, attention to detail, strong multitasking skills; and the ability to work individually and as part of a team are just a few of the skills I have acquired through my service as of now. I am extremely thankful to be a part of this program because it has allowed me to learn new things, meet new/amazing people, and step outside of my comfort zone. My professional aspirations have shifted in some ways because I am now considering a career in Clinical Psychology.
One thing is certain: I love attending Host Site, especially more when patients say, "May God bless you" (in English or Spanish) at the end of the phone conversation. Hearing patients say that makes me fulfilled, as does knowing that we are all working hard to ensure that patients receive the health care they need or that a life is saved. Although we are unaware of what the patient on the other end of the phone is going through or what their story is, assisting them in any manner lets the patient feel emotionally safe that someone cares about their health.