The Campbell University Community Care Clinic (CUCCC) usually sees uninsured patients on Tuesday evenings at the University Health Center and in communities by Mobile Clinic. However, the stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements to battle COVID-19 caused changes in the clinic’s schedule. Neil Soni, MS-1, submitted this blog post before Spring Break after his first night volunteering in the clinic.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Maryland. I worked at Apple Inc. and as a scribe during my gap year. My favorite hobby is photography; I have been taking photos for about five years now, and I’m excited to branch out and explore North Carolina with my camera.
What drew you to volunteer at the clinic?
I really believe in the mission of the clinic and also the wonderful experience of seeing real life patients as a first year medical student. I went to volunteer at the CUCCC for the first time Tuesday, February 18th and loved the support and the atmosphere. All of the volunteers are very helpful and try to bring you up with your strengths while helping you with your weaknesses. Learning how to present to an attending physician and being encouraged to go above and beyond when taking a patient’s history and physical was invaluable.
Is there anything you didn’t expect when you decided to volunteer that you now realize?
I thought the difference between our OSCE’s (Objective Structured Clinical Expereiencs) and seeing patients at the CUCCC was very interesting. OSCEs are more controlled and focused on hitting all the crucial points, while the CUCCC is centered more around building the relationship with the patient. I like that we are given a lot longer time with the patients at the clinic in comparison to clinical skills lab. It helped take the pressure off trying to make sure you got all the necessary information because you are working with a team. Because we had a longer time with each patient, we ended up only seeing 1-2 in comparison to what I originally expected of 5-6. However, it makes sense seeing how much time we are given with building a relationship, working on the care plan, discussing with the attending, and getting their prescriptions.
What’s happening with the clinic during COVID-19? Update from Dr. Joe Cacioppo, clinic faculty adviser:
Things have slowed down a bit, however, not totally stopped. Locally, I am staying connected with the North Carolina Farm Workers Health Program and to stay connected to our migrant farm worker patients as they return to the area. We are exploring telehealth options to see the farm worker patients as well as the CUCCC patients. Before the stay-at-home order, the CUCCC already had patients scheduled for the next two months. With our student volunteers unable to come to the clinic, I am reviewing each of our patients’ charts and contacting them by phone to see how they are doing. If they need prescription refills, we are taking care of that just as usual. If they need lab work, then our continuity-of-care student volunteer staff are making the arrangements for them to come to the Health Center for the blood work, and I review the results with the students and follow-up with the patient as usual.
We are hoping to plan a community mobile clinic in a rural North Carolina community for late July.
Our department has also been working with Crossing All Borders Ministry to make cloth face masks to distribute to local clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals. We hope to work out the logistics of having all four years of students involved in making and distributing the masks soon.
For more information about the Community Care Clinic visit https://medicine.campbell.edu/about/community-engagement/community-care-clinic/
For more information about the Department of Community and Global Health visit https://medicine.campbell.edu/student-experience/medical-missions-outreach/