Emily Woodfield (’21 PharmD Candidate) served in December 2019 on a Campbell University interprofessional medical missions team in the Dominican Republic and shares her experience.
Our team to the Dominican Republic was smaller than most, and only through God’s grace were we able to love on 775 patients during our four days of clinic. Many of our patients were sick or in pain, but some were healthy and came because they knew what we were offering was more than what they could get out of their regular doctor visits. We were offering them hope through prayer and demonstrating the love of our heavenly Father through our women’s and children’s ministries. On the first day, I was being challenged in new ways despite an already existing language barrier and spent time rotating through positions aside from the one that brought me the most comfort, pharmacy. We become comfortable with where we are, but that is not always what God needs from us.
I knew that I was exactly where I was needed though when a woman came through our ministry to get her feet washed. She was hesitant at first because she had not taken care of her feet recently. She sobbed once we started washing because she felt like no one loved her and here we were taking the time to do something so simple yet so impactful for many of these lovely women. To live out John 13:14-15 so literally was an experience for which I will always be grateful.
While there, I had the opportunity to learn many clinical skills that we were not taught in class as a pharmacy student. I was taught, by my medical student peers, how to conduct an interview at the mobile clinic. They were too kind as I was fumbling my way through the very first chief complaint and physical exam I had ever led. Teaching here was a two-way street though because once I was in the pharmacy, I was ready to move through the prescriptions. I was always in good company, having a medical student aid in the ever-busy pharmacy. It was an opportunity to teach and answer questions they had about antibiotics, pain medications, antihistamines, creams/lotions, and whatever else we were carrying from site to site. Through this trip, we were not only able to build relationships with people we had never met, but we, as a group, were able to bond and build professional and lasting relationships with students we can count on in the future.