As a silent shadow at the small local clinic where I volunteer, my job consists of mundane tasks such as filing, taking messages, answering phone call and best of all: organizing faxes. However, assisting the passionate ladies at Georgia Clinic has enabled me to learn so much more about what patient care is and can be.
Observing the way they interact with patients sensitively and kindly makes me certain that healthcare will be my future. Often most of the patients respond with the upmost respect and gratitude. I see the change healthcare providers make on their patients on a weekly basis, inspiring me to better myself in the field I have chosen.
My daily tasks swayed off course one day when an extremely flustered young woman walked through the door as the welcome bell rang "ding!" signaling her hurried arrival. I rushed to pull her chart from the file room, and I could hear her soft yet nervous, broken English that piqued my interest.
As it turned out, since the clinic was especially busy that day, I had been instructed to bring her back, measure her weight and assign her a room. I had been given an immense responsibility (at least in my eyes), so I was determined to maintain a confident façade. Turns out she was more nervous than I ever could have been.
While the resident nurse practitioner began to take the patient’s vitals, I had been permitted to stay and observe. From the bits and pieces of hardened conversation that didn’t seem to flow, I noticed an evident break in conversation. The patient was searching for words to explain the purpose of her visit and suddenly stopped trying to formulate her thoughts. She became quiet with noticeable defeat in her eyes.
Finally, the nurse practitioner asked me, due to my background, if I knew Gujarati. I began with a timid kemcho, the standard greeting when showing respect. Her eyes brightened once more, replying with a fervent urgency of what she needed. I transformed the questions of the practitioner into understandable Gujarati for the woman, and I translated Gujarati back into English. The flow of communication was no longer broken, and both the health provider and the patient were at ease.
Through this experience I learned that healthcare is a multifaceted career path, where knowledge about communication is extremely important. Being able to truly interact and help someone was a tremendously rewarding experience. I never want to cease exploring and obtaining real life skills to help me grow not only as a health professional, but also as a human being.