As with any new experience, I entered the student clinic at the CAO not knowing what to expect. With that classic sense of excitement, fear, and any other mix of emotions you want to throw in there I started my morning as the first person to treat. I wouldn’t call it being thrown to the wolves, the CAO trains you too well to ever really be unprepared.
Being a free clinic, the patients are often those people most in need of our services. Those that would not otherwise receive, or be able to afford, decent health care. When you don’t have money and somehow find yourself in a free clinic there is often a warm welcome to services that are well intentioned yet somehow either overstretched or underwhelming. This is definitely not the case at the CAO student clinic. After an initial Osteopathic Structural Diagnosis, a supervisor (who is either a teacher at the school or a graduate) will check the student’s findings and provide feedback on the findings as well as a primary treatment goal.
After receiving the feedback from the supervisor, the student that is treating begins their work with the observation of a student in an upper year class. The patient is in very safe hands with all of the levels of quality assurance.
I know I sound as though I am promoting the student clinic! Appreciate the amazing experience that I had and catch the fever 😉
My real point is to say that the experience I gained through one shift at the clinic was worth its weight in gold (I like gold! 😉 ). The benefit of the student clinic for me is that I get a different perspective on my methodology, I get shown new methods I had not considered, I receive constructive feedback, and I get to help people in need.
As I grow as a person and an Osteopath I find that my life is suddenly full of AHA! moments. I was told these would be a daily occurrence at the beginning of my Osteopathic journey. Every time I treat a patient I learn something. Every time I treat a patient I find a new way to help them express their health. Every time I treat someone I am TRULY PRIVILEGED to be a part of their journey towards health. I learn because my patients grant me the opportunity to commune with them.
The community that I am allowed to be in contact with at my school allows me to better work with patients. I am a better Osteopathic student today then I was yesterday. I had better be a better Osteopathic student tomorrow than I am today. It is my dream to be able to continue improving my skills that I might truly find the health in my patients should they grant me the opportunity to do so. I may not be able to help everyone but I am truly grateful to Osteopathy and those I treat for the opportunity to try.