There are many facets to pursuing a career as a physician, far beyond academia. That is why a physician’s education is geared toward creating a well-rounded individual. For example, here at NUHS, one of our graduation requirements is community outreach. We are called to participate in an event or organization through which we can help our community and spread awareness about what we have to offer. At the Salvation Army clinic, we have our own approach to community outreach.
A quiet night of reflection on the lake
Since all the patients we see are inpatients for rehabilitation, we decided that the best, most effective way to positively impact our community is to create and deliver a lecture series to the residents. All the topics are designed to educate about one facet of health or another, whether it be diet, lifestyle or outlook. It’s definitely been a unique challenge to learn how to boil down years of education and complex concepts into a succinct presentation that anyone can understand. It’s rewarding, too. The attendees tend to be engaged and have plenty of follow-up questions that only seem to highlight my own ineptitude at simplifying some complex concepts. It’s a truly fantastic experience.
While community outreach isn’t going away, it is changing its form, which is unfortunate. Starting next trimester, the community outreach hours are being replaced with a quota. Interns will have to bring in x amount of new patients to the clinic as their outreach. While this does technically serve the community, it shifts the emphasis from the community as a whole to those who have insurance and can afford our services. I believe community outreach should be provided at no cost to the community as a whole. I suppose that, however things end up, students will be getting out and interacting with the community, which will always be a crucial aspect of our education.