Quote from NiceShot
I am looking to get into volunteering as an RN in a free clinic downtown but I have no clue how they are set up, run, or what the day in the life of a free clinic nurse is about. please help.
About 80% of my 'work' is volunteer work--primarily at a local free clinic. I'm an LPN but that does not limit what I do. Our patients meet our clinic criteria-no medical insurance (Medicare, Medicaid or state health insurance) and financial criteria (I believe it's an income of <$1000/month per household but not 100% sure of that number).
We treat primarily chronic conditions--COPD, hypertension, DM type 2, arthritis, lower back pain. We triage each patient (vitals, a why they are here interview, and update med lists). The MD/NP/PA sees the patient, we then take over the checkout with med review (how to take, is this on the $4 list, are there samples or substitutes we can give), we do insulin usage teaching, nebulizer teaching for those who cannot get enough inhalers from the pharmacy assistance plans, we draw blood to be sent to the lab, we help with PAPs, pregnancy and urine dipstick tests, we run ECGs, do fingerstick glucose, HbA1cs and PT/INRs, provide nutritional guidance, give flu shots. Sometimes a little wound care. We call in Rx's if approved by the MD/NP/PA, we order x rays and ultrasounds. We do a LOT of reassuring and some chastising. And we chart, chart, chart-we don't have an EMR.
Brush up on any language skills if you have them-we are in a semi rural area and we have a number of Hispanic patients. Some come with interpreters, sometimes we try to provide one but most times we can muddle thru. Sometimes the interpreter is a young child (under age 10).
On a job interview
last summer at a regular primary care clinic, I had an office manager tell me "So you haven't done any real nursing?" Gee, I thought I did...
Best of luck-out of all my jobs, it's still my favorite.