CCPA Summer Series 2019: ReachOut

CCPA Summer Series 2019: ReachOut

By Devi Namboodiri

Hey! I am Devi Namboodiri, she/her/hers, and I am a rising junior. In this blog, I’ll go over my internship details and at the end, show in a video how to take some vital signs! This summer, I am very grateful for the sponsorship of the Jaharis Scholarship. Through this funding, I am working at a free clinic in Dayton, Ohio called ReachOut of Montgomery County. 

ReachOut does vital work in the community: many people come in seeking more affordable health care which can be hard to find. I joined ReachOut because I wanted to become a part of the process to help people in need feel better. There are many nurses, doctors, pharmacists and training professionals who come volunteer their time for this same cause. 
 
As a pre-med volunteer, I still get to do a lot in the clinic. Our shifts are generally 5 hours at a time, which are during the walk-in hours of the clinic. The first, longer part of the shift is my favorite: triaging. This is a process where the clinic assesses the relative urgencies of treatment for the patients that come for walk-in appointments. This is done differently if the patient is new or returning. For new patients and returning patients that have not come for about a year, the first step is taking the medical histories and records. This is to inform the clinic of any chronic diseases and current medication that might cause complications or cause worse symptoms if left untreated. Next, we evaluate the chief complaint: the reason or reasons for the visit. Next, some measures of a patient are taken depending on the complaint: pulse is always taken, blood pressure is taken especially when the patient is short of breath, oxygen saturation (SpO2) measures the oxygen % in the blood, and temperature if a pathogen is suspected or the patient has been experiencing any chills or fevers. The height and weight are usually also checked if the patient is ambulatory.
 
During the second part of the shift, we scribe the notes written by attendings after they see patients into electronic patient files. This process has taught me medical language and given me exposure to how attendings ask questions and “interview” the patient.
 
HIPAA rules are protocols that protect patient information. Because of this, I cannot film my day to day activities in the clinic. Instead, as a fun twist, I can show you how to find your pulse and blood pressure manually. 
 

Thank you so much for reading and watching!