Serving in the Heart of the Central Valley
Since embarking on host site service in July, I've encountered abundant opportunities for
personal and professional growth. The support and encouragement of my colleagues, NHC
members, and leaders have been instrumental in navigating the complexities of host site duties.
As someone prone to anxiety in new situations, the initial month posed a challenge, but
persevering through the awkward phase has resulted in increased comfort with the host site and
strengthened bonds with NHC members. Engaging in current host site activities has spurred
personal development and deepened my passion for a career in healthcare, especially through the
gratifying daily interactions with patients.
Simultaneously, taking an EMT course this semester, though fleeting, has proven
invaluable in familiarizing me with medical terminology and refining communication skills,
crucial when engaging with individuals facing challenging circumstances. While mastering
empathy and care can be demanding, I am gradually understanding that expressions of anger or
disrespect from patients may signal a need for emotional release or an underlying pain.
Witnessing my classroom knowledge seamlessly connect to patient care has been an exciting
Currently immersed in shadowing the associate medical director (AMD) at the host site,
I've gathered profound insights into patient care. The AMD's genuine concern for patients and
flexible treatment options, particularly important for the underinsured or uninsured individuals at
the clinic, have left an unforgettable impression. Emphasizing long-term care, the AMD's
approach fosters strong patient connections, evident in their willingness to voice health concerns
openly. His attentive and time-invested approach is inspiring, creating an environment where
questions are welcomed, diminishing any fear I previously had. The once intimidating medical
terms, such as retinopathy or scleroderma, no longer evoke fear, as I've learned to break down
complex words and ask questions when faced with unfamiliarity.
Delving into diabetes management, an initially unfamiliar territory, I've gained
familiarity through my shadowing experience. Recognizing the challenges associated with
insulin accessibility, even with insurance, underscores the importance of addressing potential
complications like glaucoma and heart disease. The overarching lesson from my time here
revolves around the significance of preventative care in mitigating the prevalence of diseases
such as diabetes, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.
One of the aspects I cherish about my role as a community health center specialist
(CHCS) is its inherent flexibility. While primarily assisting with providing patient support, my
involvement extends to supporting the women’s health team, participating in outreach activities,
and collaborating with the food bank for distribution. Every day brings a new challenge, yet I
remain appreciative of the diverse resources and opportunities available. The unwavering
flexibility, support, and encouragement from my host site have ignited my passion for healthcare,
shaping my aspiration to become a physician associate. The experiences gained here are
invaluable steppingstones toward realizing my future dream.