Having moonlighted as a Medical Scribe Volunteer in addition to his Clinic Concierge role, Duc Phan has seen Old Town Clinic from both the waiting room and the exam room. Take a look at what Duc believes makes Old Town Clinic so successful, and how he plans to use what he has learned in the future!
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Name: Duc Phan
Position: My position at CCC is as a patient concierge or Clinic Concierge Volunteer.
What are some of your duties with that position?
Mainly trying to keep patients company. If they need any help walking up or down stairs I can assist them; if they don’t know where they are I can point them in the right direction. Bring them water if they get thirsty. I’m mostly just there to be a pair of ears to listen and have conversations with them.
Do you find yourself in a lot of engaging conversations with folks while they’re waiting for their appointments?
Patients—when they sit there and are waiting for an appointment—they are very much in the stage of not happy or [not wanting] to chit-chat. So I have to approach and introduce myself and once I initiate that they open up and they will talk about their lives, their reasons for being there, and they do share a lot of personal information (that I always keep private).
Once you initiate conversation they’re pretty much happy to share with you a lot of things. That’s the part that I feel is rewarding. The trust, for some reason, it just establishes quickly with me and the patients feel free and very quickly share why they are there and what is going on with them.
What do you find to be your favorite thing about Old Town Clinic?
The concept. The mission. It is a clinic that is not just focused on physical health. I see Old Town Clinic as such an integrated organization and you don’t really see that kind of clinic anywhere else. This model is very comprehensive in the way that it is very beneficial to the population of patients that come there. [The patients] go there and mainly, yes, the reason is because they are sick and have something that needs to be taken care of. But at the same time they have other issues that Old Town Clinic can offer [services for] and that is very wonderful.
When I did the scribe thing that was pretty cool. I was in the room with the doctor and after he went through the history of the patient and checked out the reason why the patient came in, he then said, “How are things going with you?”
It makes you think: you come here for the stomach ache or back pain, but let’s see what else is going on. Talk to me about how things are going on in your daily life.
Basically, you can offer more than just one kind of existence to the patient.
I know that you are in the application process for Physician Assistant graduate school. How do you think your experiences at Old Town Clinic will benefit you going forward in your career?
It helps in a way that broadens my focus to more than just the physical health of the patient. It helps me to take into consideration all of the factors that bring someone to [Old Town Clinic]. Maybe they have certain emotional issues, or maybe they just lost their job and don’t have a place to live. There can be many other reasons that will be the cause of certain conditions. And to be a healthcare provider, it is important to consider all of the factors [more so] than to just put on a bandage and treat the immediate condition.
A lot of doctors or nurses or physician assistants that work at the hospital seem to be very proficient professionals but their view is only in the hospital bubble. You only see the patient come in and then leave, but at Old Town Clinic they come in and it kind of feels like a whole family. You are here to take care of this person, this individual, and we all work together as a team and we all make sure that they leave this clinic fully taken care of.
So what advice would you have for a brand new clinic volunteer?
I say go for it! Be ready for good surprises. Old Town Clinic is a clinic that is rich in diversity and every day something different happens and every day you see a different type of patient in and out. I enjoy my time there a lot. People there are very friendly and very professional and it is a place driven by patient-centered care. And if anyone has a passion about patient-centered care, then Old Town Clinic is definitely the place to be for anyone who wants to get that kind of experience or get exposed to that kind of environment.
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If you are interested in learning more about volunteer positions at Central City Concern’s health and recovery, housing, or employment programs, contact Eric Reynolds, CCC’s Volunteer Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our volunteer webpage.