Day in the life at a free clinic

  1. 0
    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.
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I think every free clinic is different. Where I am volunteering, the pts files (who is visiting today) will be separeted in to "nurse visit" and "MD visit". The nurse visit is for refill rx and pt with same prob. You interview and do the assessment. Present the file to MD and he will approve of refill or increase/decrease/order new rx. And you do the pt teaching about meds, habits, foods etc.

    Hope this is help.
  5. 0
    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.
    Star
  6. 0
    Quote from starintn

    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.
    Star
    That office manager sounds clueless! I would love to work at a place like that once I get my APN. Who funds your clinic and provides the site, Star?
  7. 0
    Sorry, I haven't checked the site for some time-obviously. I should now add that I am now employed 2-3 days a week at the same clinic I volunteered with. I still do some jobs for them as a volunteer plus I volunteer several weekends a year with Remote Area Medical (RAM). If looking for an opportunity, try RAM-they list their clinic calendar on their website.

    If still looking for a free clinic to volunteer with, we'd LOVE to have you but we are located in east Tennessee. We are organized under the Volunteers in Medicine guidelines. Visit their website for other clinic locations organized under the same set of guidelines--volunteersinmedicine.org

    Our clinic had a strong group of local volunteers, primarily from one church BUT we are not under control of the church. We have a varied group of board members-from many walks of life. Much of our funding is from donations, we also get funding thru our state safety net program.

    Hope you find an outlet! There are definite challenges in working at a clinic like ours in all areas. Even tho there are things that drive me crazy about working in this 'scraping by' environment, it's the patients and medical volunteers that make the aggrevations bearable!
    Star
  8. 0
    Quote from ScrubRNwannabe
    I think every free clinic is different. Where I am volunteering, the pts files (who is visiting today) will be separeted in to "nurse visit" and "MD visit". The nurse visit is for refill rx and pt with same prob. You interview and do the assessment. Present the file to MD and he will approve of refill or increase/decrease/order new rx. And you do the pt teaching about meds, habits, foods etc.
    That's how I've seen it set up too. Every clinic has a different set-up though.


Top