I have been at my host site for a little over four weeks now and things have gotten underway pretty quickly. I spent the first two weeks shadowing in the various departments, learning about all of the resources and services offered at Stephen Klein Wellness Center (SKWC). I listened in admiration as I learned that SKWC has a food pantry for its patients and that we offer those experiencing homelessness the opportunity to shower, wash their clothes, and have a meal. I was in awe of the camaraderie I witnessed between staff and patients. I watched and listened as staff and patients shared jokes and told stories like old friends. At the end of my training, I was, and am still, appreciative of the friendly atmosphere at SKWC and excited to begin my service.
Training ended two weeks ago for me, which seems crazy because much has happened since then. I have been reaching out to and meeting with patients who are due for immunizations, lab work, dental visits, medical visits, and who have recently been discharged from an inpatient hospital stay. My list of duties is ever growing and I am loving it. I have even begun creating relationships of my own with patients. But, while I am enjoying the service I am doing, I have seen glimpses of the shortcomings of our “system”. I have met with patients who have not scheduled appointments because they are struggling to pay their rent, patients who cannot find adequate employment, and patients who make just enough to not qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford marketplace insurance. As I came across each of these cases, I felt completely useless as I sat in awkward silence searching my brain for something to offer these individuals and coming up with nothing. These moments were frustrating and I did not want to make a habit of not knowing what to offer, so I went to various staff members for help. Once again, I was very pleased with reception I got from the staff.
Each time I approach a staff member, they spend ample time addressing all of my questions and some have even helped me reach out to patients, so that I could deliver information about the resources they needed. The staff at SKWC are very approachable and open to new ideas and suggestions. The low barrier culture here at SKWC has made my integration into this organization both smooth and warm. The best part about it is that they do not do it for me, they do it for the patients. They do it so that patients can receive what they need as timely and efficient as possible. I still have much to learn about the population I serve, but I am excited and grateful to learn here at Stephen Klein Wellness Center.
This blog was written by Markell Bishop. Markell serves as a Care Coordinator with the Stephen Klein Wellness Center.