I have had a great experience so far at Cabrini Clinic. Coming in to the job without a medical background, I was a little intimidated and had a lot to learn. Luckily, the friendly, knowledgeable staff and understanding patients have made my on-boarding process go smoothly (though I know I still have much to learn). At the same time, I feel I have been able to offer some of my gifts – IT skills, compassionate service, and interest in social justice – to the clinic and its patients. Overall, I feel Cabrini and I are a great match!
My favorite experience at the clinic is getting to know the patients. In particular, I have helped some people become patients here from the very beginning of that process – usually starting with a phone call asking someone, “Do you see people without insurance?” – to helping them through the door. Once, I was giving a patient directions to the clinic as I saw a car drive past the door. Me: “Are you driving a black car? I think I just saw you drive past!” Patient: “Yes, that’s my car!” Me: “I think you’ve found the clinic!” Then, the relationship builds as patients return for care. Soon, we remember each other’s names and are happy to see one another again, even though nobody really wants to be at a free clinic.
Ideally, our medical system would ensure medical care for anyone in need. For better or for worse, in our country some less wealthy people must rely on the charity of complete strangers to receive essential life services. I enjoy helping to provide these services selflessly and with respect for the patients. I know that it could be me, my parents, a family member, friend, or neighbor in that same position. When I am able to carry out that selfless service, I feel good, and I think the patients appreciate it.
After several months working at Cabrini, I still agree wholeheartedly with the statement on its website: “Cabrini Clinic believes that Health Care is a Human Right. We look to the day when there will be no need for free clinics, when that right is recognized by our nation, so that a basic level of health coverage is available to all residents. Until that day, Cabrini Clinic will continue to advocate and serve.” I remain committed to helping provide Cabrini’s free services until they are no longer needed, or until my time at the clinic expires – whichever comes first!
Rich Samartino, Cabrini Clinic, Detroit, MI
Originally published in Cabrini Connector, Cabrini Clinic’s Newsletter